Larger jail, house of correction remains on the drawing board

Throughout his tenure, Sheriff Michael McCormack has pressed to have a new jail/house of correction.

With the support of the Dukes County Commissioners, and an airport commission bled of any opponents through the commission’s appointment process, in July 2003 the airport commission agreed to locate the facility behind the Hot Tin Roof, now Nectar’s, in the southwest corner of the airport property and set aside 14 acres for that purpose.

Six years later, uncertain about what a state takeover of the sheriff’s department would mean with respect to airport property and future control, on June 19, 2009 the airport commission voted to rescind the release of the 14 acres.

That vote did not alter the updated airport master plan approved in 2004 which includes plans for a new jail.

The new facility, which has yet to be designed and remains in the conceptual stage, is intended to house up to 79 inmates, and include space for females and juveniles in approximately 45,000 square feet of space.

Critics of Sheriff McCormack’s plans have complained that a big, new jail would be used by off-Island jurisdictions who would transfer inmates doing time for more serious criminal activity than is common here in Dukes County, thus endangering Island residents.