Office of the Sheriff - St. Lawrence County
17 Commerce Lane ~ Canton, NY ~ 315-379-2367
History of the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility
The St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility, located at 17 Commerce Lane, Canton, NY 13617, opened in May 2009 replacing the undersized and aging facility located on Judson St. in the Village of Canton. The new facility’s innovative design was created by SMRT Architects out of Portland, Maine and provides the facility with an efficient, safe and modern environment for management of its inmate population through the principles of direct supervision.
Construction Manager on the project was Pike Company out of Rochester, NY. Physical construction was completed by eleven (11) prime contractors and numerous other sub-contractors. Construction arrived at completion stage on time and within budget. A Project Labor Agreement was in place throughout the construction project.
The process of planning for the new facility officially began in 2003. The project, from needs assessment to design planning, construction to official opening was actively overseen by the Jail Transition Team led by the experience of 22 year Jail Warden Mike Mitchell, selected Corrections staff from the facility and Governmental Services Director, Mike Cunningham. This team worked in conjunction with the Jail Management Committee, which included St. Lawrence County Legislators Charles Romigh, Sally Brothers, Fred Morrill, Sam Burns, and Donald Peck along with Sheriff Gary Jarvis, Sheriff Kevin Wells, County Administrator Donald Brining, County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire, Probation Director Francine Perretta and County Planning Director Keith Zimmerman. An early Community Jail Advisory Committee led by citizen Lowell Kelsey was also instrumental in aiding the County during the project. The New York State Commission of Correction, the legal authority within New York State regarding County jails also played a major oversight role in nearly every aspect of the project.
At approximately 93,000 square feet, the facility sits on 22.5 acres. The inmate capacity is 164 single cells and 186 when authorization for double cells is granted by the NYS Commission of Correction. The cost of the facility was roughly $32.5 million with the capabilities of expansion already designed into the mechanical and service elements of the facility which will support at least two additional 60 bed housing units.
The direct supervision facility was designed to provide more efficient treatment and control for all inmates. The facility lay-out, modern computerized security electronics system and improved safety equipment allow the new facility to operate safely and effectively with the same number of staff as the old jail but with twice the inmate population. Two 60 bed housing units, one 36 bed housing unit, and one 30 bed housing unit replace the old facility’s 13 linear style housing units and one 30 bed dormitory unit. Separate spaces for medical and mental health, education programs, intake and visitation allows the new facility more flexibility in conducting daily operations as opposed to the constraints found at the old facility where it was necessary for these services to compete for shared spaces. The Central Control room is situated to be able to safely maintain sight-lines along all movement corridors of the building. The exterior of the building is designed to look more like an industrial or institutional building with limited fencing as the building’s features themselves act as the secure perimeter. There are more than 96 security cameras located inside and outside the building. A majority of support services are provided for the inmates within the housing units themselves to reduce movement along the interior of the facility. Basic sanitation needs from building clean-up to laundry services at the facility is provided by inmate workers.
The facility is staffed under the direction of Sheriff Kevin Wells, Jail Administrator Daniel Dominie and Assistant Jail Administrator Peggy Harper, supported by six (6) sergeants, fifty (50) full-time Officers, and fourteen (14) part-time Officers. Also employed is a civilian support staff consisting of four (4) kitchen employees, nursing staff which includes overlapping coverage up to fourteen (14) hours per day and one (1) Records Officer. A Buildings and Grounds maintenance staff of three (3) is on site daily. Educational services are provided thru St. Lawrence BOCES.