More state inmates equals more money to pay the jail’s expenses, including a debt payment of approximately $4 million, says Fifth District Magistrate Jo Orange. However, Logan County’s jailer, Bill Jenkins, says it’s not that cut and dry and with more state inmates you have more problems that follow.
According to Orange, when the Logan County Detention Center was built back in the 1990’s the building was designed to house at least 48 state inmates and the plan at that time was to use money from housing state inmates to provide much of the funding to pay for the building.
“This has not even come close to occurring,” said Orange, who asked Jenkins to look into increasing the state inmate population at the jail at Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting.
The state pays $31.34 per day to counties for housing state inmates. Traditionally Logan County’s jail has many more county inmates than state inmates. According to Orange for at least the past 10 years the number of state inmates housed by the Logan County Detention Center has averaged around 30.
One of the problems Jenkins has with bringing in a lot of state inmates is the trouble it will cause in the jail and out. Jenkins told Orange on Tuesday that you have to worry about what is coming into your jail. With bringing in state inmates you bring in more severe offenses. Sometimes when they come from larger cities, they can be gang members.
“You get what they send you and you have to be careful because their families usually move with them and then you have that element in your community,” said Jenkins, adding that more arrests sometimes follow.
Another issue Jenkins had with increasing the state inmate population was how many county inmates that are housed at the jail. He said although he numbers have been down for the past several months, the jail typically has a very large number of it’s own inmates to take care of.
Magistrate Orange feels if the counties around us can do it then Logan should be able to as well.
“I recently heard that the Todd County Detention Center was housing over 80 state inmates. Our neighbor, Simpson County, generated over $130,000 housing state and county inmates last year. We lost over $1.7 million. We need to change the way we do business. Since the number of our county inmates has decreased over the last two years (69 on Aug. 14, 2012), and since they are available to other counties, it made sense to me that Logan County should obtain more state inmates and thus increase its income and decrease its expense to the county,” said Orange.
For the 2010-2011 fiscal year, jail expenses at the Logan County Detention Center, not including the debt service and juvenile housing, was $1,791,421, said Orange, adding the average daily population for the 2010-2011 fiscal year was 119.45 (state and county inmates).
“That yields $41.09 per inmate day. Increasing the number of state inmates would serve to decrease this cost per day and thus save some money for the taxpayers of Logan County. In fact, with our lower number of county inmates, it appears the cost per inmate day will actually increase this year because expenses have not significantly decreased. I do not understand why it costs Logan County more to house inmates than most of the other detention centers in Kentucky,” Orange said.
Although Jenkins told Mrs. Orange that he would look into getting more state inmates, he still believes it to be a mistake the county and it’s citizens could end up paying for in the end both monetarily and perhaps in a way much more important than money.