Sgt. R.J. Lurquin stands in the City-County Building portion of the Dane County Jail. Built in 1953, the jail’s linear hallways make supervision difficult and the vertical bars create a risk for inmates who may consider harming themselves.

Inmates in four Dane County Jail cell blocks were held in their cells for about five hours Monday because of a power failure, but nobody was hurt in the incident.

The cells affected were in the oldest part of the Dane County Jail on the sixth and seventh floors of the City-County Building, a part of the jail that's scheduled to be shut down when new jail expansion takes place.

Nobody was in danger because the cell doors could have been opened manually, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Elise Schaffer.

"At about 5 p.m. deputies discovered four inmate cell blocks were not able to be electronically operated," Schaffer said. "At about 10 p.m., it was determined a universal power supply unit had failed, with the controls eventually re-established with a system bypass."

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Mitigation efforts to address critical issues in the old jail are ongoing.

"The goal of the project is to mitigate life and health safety concerns for those living, working and volunteering in the City-County Building Jail," Schaffer said.

"This is yet another reminder of the importance of the jail consolidation project, which when completed, will finally allow for the closing of the City-County Building portion of the jail."

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