Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jamesville Correctional Center remains in limbo as court date approaches

The entrance to Jamesville Correctional Facility Feb. 6, 2023.
Scott Willis
The entrance to Jamesville Correctional Facility Feb. 6, 2023.

The future of Onondaga County’s Jamesville Correctional Center remains in limbo about a year after the county executive and legislature ordered its closure.  Lawmakers are even poised to renew a one-year moratorium on the sale of the property.  The jail continues to operate as a lawsuit seeking to block the closure plays out in court.

Oral arguments in Sheriff Toby Shelley’s lawsuit are scheduled for next week. Meanwhile, officials with the sheriff’s department say the populations at both Jamesville and the downtown justice center continue to trend higher. Public Information Officer Tom Newton says the number of inmates at Jamesville has more than doubled to 122 since December 2022.

“Crimes of larceny and and burglary, and we've seen with all these car thefts, those are going up," Newton said. "And the courts are starting to recognize this, especially with judicial discretion being implemented again. The courts are starting to say, well, enough is enough.”

Newton says combine that with Governor Kathy Hochul’s tougher stance on crime, and the population can only continue to grow. He says had Jamesville closed last spring, as first proposed, they would have had no choice but to transport inmates to Monroe County to avoid overcrowding downtown with the combined populations.

 “All Monroe County was offering us was to flip the light switch at their facility," Newton said. "They weren't offering any manpower, they weren't offering any transportation. If we were to do that right now, our assistant chief at Jamesville has recognized that at a minimum, it would have cost the taxpayers $5 million just to house them in that county last year.”

County Executive McMahon has said closing Jamesville would save $5 to $10 million dollars.

Newton says transportation and overcrowding pose unnecessary risks to the public, inmates, and corrections officers.

“This county is safe for having these two jails," Newton said. "We're at a tipping point where I think the county executive and the legislature have to recognize what the sheriff's been saying since day one when he took over: It's not a good idea, and it's about public safety.”

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at