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The Trempealeau County Jail was originally constructed in 1981 and consists of seven linear-designed housing units and one dormitory. 


Linear jail design stretches cells along long hallways and around acute angles, creating blind spots and the need for closed circuit television or other means to maintain 24/7 visual surveillance.

Podular jail design, which is proposed for new facility, features a master control area in the center with cells and program areas surrounding the perimeter in a circular or pie-shaped layout. Staff doesn’t need to run down long corridors to see what’s going on because there are clear sight lines for observation of inmates and activities at all times. Cameras simply supplement direct supervision but aren’t the sole source of monitoring. Learn more about podular vs. linear design.

Other facility design issues include:

  • Significant walking distance (through unsecure corridors) from jail to courtroom

  • ADA compliance

  • Air handling system doesn't provide proper air exchanges

  • No negative pressure cells to isolate inmates to prevent the spread of an illness from cell to cell

  • Lack of/or deteriorating drains (that leak sewage) throughout facility 

  • Drains and pipes freeze in Sheriff's garage

  • Constant plumbing leaks (average one per month)

  • Plumbing access doors are small and difficult to work in

  • There are no secure perimeters that provide easy access to electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems

  • Cracked parts of floor foundations due to water leaks cause additional leaks into Sheriff's Department

  • Poor insulation on exterior walls makes for difficult heating in winter

  • Space and storage constraints throughout facility (see existing conditions page for examples)

  • Kitchen is not designed for full food service and is too small to house proper equipment/dishwasher

  • Grease trap is inadequate

  • No designated server room so equipment is spread throughout facility - often not in ideal conditions

  • Elevator from sally port to jail has numerous issues and maintenance comes from Minnesota - very expensive to maintain, update, and/or replace

  • The inmate recreation deck has many maintenance issues that could present safety concerns if not adddressed
  • Shower heads are facing wrong way resulting in water spill into cell block

  • The Huber inmate area is not properly located or designed. Huber inmates utilize public spaces upon entry to jail and come and go at all hours. The shower and changing area is very small and the strip search area is not properly sized

  • Limited parking

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