New holding cells in place at Otter Tail County Jail

County Detention Center Administrator Jim Stewart alongside a second elevator now in place at the detention center (jail) adjacent to the courthouse just south of downtown Fergus Falls.

The addition of five new holding cells is complete at the county detention center (jail) in Fergus Falls. They were added to the two previous cells which now brings the total to seven.

County jails all across Minnesota, including the Otter Tail County jail, have experienced overcrowding in recent months.

“Inmates are being held for longer periods of time,” said County Detention Center Administrator Jim Stewart. “In part, this is a reflection of more people arrested for drug-related offenses.”

“We’re also seeing more people with mental illnesses committing crimes,” added Stewart.

A second elevator was completed at the same time the holding cells were installed.

The new elevator is needed as a backup when the old elevator has a mechanical snag and can’t be used to transfer inmates.

There was close to 100 percent support from county taxpayers who understand fully why additional holding cells at the county jail in Fergus Falls were needed, and why it also was necessary to construct a second elevator.

This is one of five new holding cells in place at the Otter Tail County detention center (jail) in
Fergus Falls.

“We are deeply appreciative of the support of county residents, the county board of commissioners and county employees Terry Hoff and Doug Cannell who oversaw the overall project,” said Stewart.

Hoff serves as physical plant manager and Cannell works for Otter Tail County as maintenance supervisor. They worked directly with contractors to make sure holding cell installation and elevator construction adhered to county guidelines established by Stewart and the board of commissioners.

“Prefabricated holding cells were installed,” said County Detention Center Administrator Stewart. “We’re pleased to inform taxpayers that the project was completed under budget, below the original estimate of $1.3 million.”

County Board Chairman Doug Huebsch of Perham said he’s pleased that Stewart and his employees at the detention center have the upgrades that are needed in order to adequately perform their duties.

“We planned for the future by adding the new holding cells and new elevator,” said County Commissioner Wayne Johnson who represents the Pelican Rapids area.