Monday, October 22, 2007

Dane County to Remove Inmates From Winnebgo County Jails

The OshNW has this story today:

County will no longer house Dane County inmates
By Jennifer K. Woldt
of The Northwestern

A canceled contract for housing out of county inmates will result in Winnebago County losing more than $1 million in annual revenue.

Winnebago County Sheriff Michael Brooks learned earlier this week that Dane County will not renew its contract with Winnebago County to house approximately 60 of their inmates at the Winnebago County Jail.

The contract called for Dane County inmates to be held at the Winnebago County facility at a rate of $51 per day, Brooks said, which brings in about $1.3 million in revenue to the county. Brooks said the removal of Dane County inmates will happen in a "phased out" manner.

At the last meeting, I discussed the possibility of this, in the context of this Dane County Press release:

Falk, Mahoney Agree: More Public Safety, Less Cost in 2008 Dane County Budget

Some of the new deputies will be used to staff the expanded use of the electronic monitoring program from the current 40 to 60 inmates to 200 inmates. “This was one of the recommendations included in the Institute for Law and Policy Planning (ILLP) audit by Alan Kalmanoff,” Falk said of the report which stressed modernizing some of the county’s policies to promote more public safety and cost efficiencies.

With the expansion in electronic monitoring and several other key proposals which hold inmates more accountable than does the Huber Center, Falk said the county will reduce its costs of shipping inmates to other counties from more than $2 million to $150,000.

This could make a big dent in the budget. And it shows that we need a comprehensive study of the jail needs.

I propose that it be conducted as a joint effort between the offices of the Sheriff and the County Executive.

We need to make sure there is more than one set of eyes looking at the numbers. It may well be that we need to expand jail space, but I want to know that we are looking at a comprehensive picture of the situation, both from a view of jail needs and the current political reality of WI budgeting.