FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners agreed Tuesday to enter into a new one-year contract with Maine Pretrial Services for $69,000.

The agency has an office at the Franklin County Detention Center and has been providing services for several years. The contract is effective July 1.

Commissioners also learned about upgrades and modifications at the jail, and opened three bids for professional services for inmates.

The facility will reopen as a fully operational jail during the second week of March, or sooner if possible. It was a full-service jail until July 1, 2009, when the state took control of county jails and it became a 72-hour holding facility.

The state Board of Corrections approved the facility’s return to a full-service jail in January to help relieve statewide overcrowding.

The county will have to have everything in compliance and in place, including medical services, before the state will issue a license to return the jail to its former fully operational status, jail manager Maj. Doug Blauvelt said.

“They are looking to get this open sooner rather than later,” he said.

There will be a change in the inmate/visitor contact room to a noncontact room in order to help prevent any banned substance or item from coming into the jail, he said.

Visitors and inmates will be separated by a glass partition and a locked door, but will be able to communicate via speaker.

County facility manager Greg Roux said he had contacted a company for prices and decided that it would be cheaper for the county to do the work: $3,250 compared to $7,200 for outside contractor.

The number of permanent beds at the jail will also be increased because 29 were not enough in the past, Blauvelt said.

The plan is for 40 beds.

He received a variance for a block wall filled with concrete to be built 8½ feet tall rather than to the gym-high ceiling in the recreation room, he said.

The cost for that is $6,200, Roux said.

The room is being modified to house 10 inmate bunk beds that will be secured to the wall.

There was a recommendation to add beds in the minimum security area but Blauvelt said he has no plan to do so at this time.

“You’re doing a good job up there,” commission Chairman Gary McGrane said.

“I’m doing my best,” Blauvelt said.

Two bids for mental health and substance abuse services were opened from Evergreen Behavioral Services and Tri-County Mental Health Services, both of Farmington.

A third bid from MedPro Associates based in Dover-Foxcroft with local providers in Franklin County was opened for medical, mental health and substance abuse services.

Commissioners requested that Blauvelt review the bids and services and to give them a recommendation.

County Clerk Julie Magoon said Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. is looking for temporary approval if a candidate for cook supervisor is hired before the commissioners next meeting March 3.

Temporary approval will allow candidates for cook and part-time cook to be interviewed, she said.

She will contact commissioners if temporary approval is needed.

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