The exterior of the Nassau County jail

The exterior of the Nassau County jail Credit: Craig Ruttle

Conditions at the Nassau jail that violate state standards must be corrected to the satisfaction of regulators, or the cash-strapped county will lose millions of dollars available for housing inmates from Suffolk.

Fixing most of what's wrong shouldn't be that difficult. Cleaning showers, eliminating mold, ensuring there are no insects on inmate clothing and that solitary confinement is used appropriately are not difficult tasks.

But the problems have persisted, in some instances since 2008, and remained unresolved last week, according to the state Commission of Correction. An additional dispute between state and county officials over whether the management in place represents a "functioning, integrated command structure," also must be resolved.

Nassau officials insist they've met most of the state's requirements. They should tell state officials. If notified of compliance, chairman Thomas Beilein said the commission will revisit Nassau as soon as possible.

If Acting Sheriff Michael Sposato hasn't corrected the violations, then County Executive Edward Mangano should find someone to get the job done. But if the violations have been cured, the state should quickly clear the county to rent empty cells to Suffolk County. Nassau needs the money and Suffolk needs the space.

The Nassau jail has a long, troubled history, including four recent inmate suicides, and federal oversight from 1999 to 2006 due to an inmate's beating death, overcrowding and poor medical care. Nassau is responsible for the well-being of its 1,672 inmates, most of whom have not been convicted of any crime and are awaiting trial. County officials need to get this right.