Thurston County Officials Debate Replacing Aging Jail

thurston-county-sheriffPENDER, Neb. (AP) — Thurston County’s jail needs to be replaced after nearly 100 years of use, but county officials are having trouble agreeing on where it should be built and how to pay for it.

The northeast Nebraska county is considering asking voters to approve a $7.5 million bond issue in November for a new 48-bed jail.

The current jail has 25 beds in three large cells, so there isn’t any way to separate inmates by the seriousness of their crimes. Sheriff Shelly Perez says the jail isn’t all that secure either.

A consultant recommends building a new jail in Pender, but some county board members want to build it 13 miles away in Walthill because that site is supported by the area’s Omaha and Winnebago tribes.