Officials progressing with electronic booking system at Carbon Co. prison
Carbon County is moving forward on getting an electronic fingerprinting and photographing system up and running at the prison in Nesquehoning.
During the monthly meeting of the county prison board, members discussed what needs to be done to guarantee that the Live Scan Booking Station and Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network will be completely ready for Jan. 1, 2011. They also discussed a grant the county could apply for that would help cover the majority of the first year's costs.
James Dodson, chief juvenile court officer and Ronald Kokinda, chief of adult probation, provided the board with an update on the grant process; as well as the policy and procedure manual for the system.
Kokinda explained that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency approved the concept paper for the federal grant that was submitted by the Carbon County Criminal Justice Advisory Board during the summer. The application was approved by the commissioners at Thursday's county commissioners' meeting.
"I don't see any hurdles that we will have to get over to get this grant," Kokinda said, noting that according to the grant, the county would receive 75 percent or $29,057 reimbursement for 2011.
Dodson then spoke about minor changes to the policy that had been drafted in June.
Robert Crampsie, county controller, questioned one point in the policy that discussed prepayment for services.
Dodson said he would speak with Roberta Brewster, court administrator, to confirm how prepayment would be handled.
Dodson also asked about the installation of a secure door, which is needed to operate the Live Scan system.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein asked how much would the door cost. He was told it was estimated up to $11,000.
Nothstein then made a motion to contact Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg, the company that designed the prison, to draw up specifications for the door so the county could move forward with the project. The motion passed unanimously.
The board also discussed deadlines and costs associated with the system and decided that they need to set up a line item for the live scan fund for fees that are collected.
The county prison board has been working to get the Live Scan Booking Station and Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network, a booking station for taking criminals' photos and fingerprints electronically, up and running since June 2008, when the county prison board agreed to accept the piece of machinery from the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association (PCPA). The cost of the equipment if purchased, would have been $66,600.
Since then, the county has had to bid out a project to run fiber optics for the system, as well as install a new underground conduit from the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency to the county prison, both located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning, after learning that the current conduit that runs between the two facilities had sprung a leak and could potentially create a problem. BCI Communications of Monmouth, N.J., submitted the low bid of $27,778. This project was not in the initial setup cost estimates.
In other matters, Warden Joseph Gross provided an update on the county's attempt to get Immigration and Customs Enforcement certified.
"Basically, they're telling us sorry," he said, adding that he asked them to send the prison an application the first week in October.
The major problem, Gross said, that ICE has with the Carbon County Correctional Facility is the limited amount of beds that are available; all detainees need to have a hard bed and not cots; and that usually charges are dropped against the detainee, which means the illegal must be picked up within 24 hours.
Carbon County has been working on getting ICE certified since late July.
At that time, the prison received an e-mail from ICE, stating that the prison was not allowed to accept detainees and hold them for transport.
Since then, the county, as well as Nesquehoning Mayor Tony Walck, have been working to get certified because the nearest ICE certified prison is in Scranton, which means some municipalities are left unprotected for hours when an officer must transport an illegal to the Scranton facility.