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January 22, 2013

Home incarceration: Profits compensate for money lost in jail overcrowding

MADISON COUNTY — A method adopted to help deal with overcrowding in the Madison County Detention Center also is showing financial benefits to taxpayers, according to a report given during Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting.

County Treasurer Glenna Baker gave a home incarceration program financial report from the program’s May 1 inception through Jan. 7.

An average of 50 to 55 people now wear monitors instead of residing in jail, according to Baker.

Home incarceration inmates must pay a fee to be able given “house arrest,” and that amount is based on a sliding scale, according to Deputy Michelle Albertson, who oversees the county’s program.

The maximum fee is $10 a day plus a $50 hookup fee, she said.

Through Jan. 7, there have been 187 inmates on home incarceration for a total of 7,069 days, Baker said.

Because of the fees incorporated into the program, the county has received $48,858 in cash receipts. It costs the county taxpayers approximately $23 a day to house an inmate, so having them on home incarceration has saved the jail and county $162,800 during this time. The total income/savings equals $211,658, according to Baker’s report.

The program’s expenditures total $111,702, which includes Albertson’s salary and benefits, monitoring fees (the cost the county pays to have the in-house home incarceration program, which is $37,112) fuel, supplies and a vehicle.

This leaves the county with a net profit/savings of $99,955. However, this amount has been used by the jail to cover the cost of county inmates being pulled because of overcrowding, Baker said.

Monday morning, there were 290 inmates in the jail, and Madison County Jailer Doug Thomas said the state took 20 of their prisoners last Friday. The county is paid a fee for housing state inmates

The county receives anywhere from $31 to $34 a day per state inmate.

Because of the jail’s overcrowding issues, state inmates are being taken away, which means the county loses money, Thomas explained during a fiscal court meeting late last year.

Baker has estimated that the county brings in anywhere from $56,000 to $70,000 a month from housing state prisoners.

When the Kentucky Department of Corrections sees that the Madison County Detention Center is above capacity, they come and pull their state inmates, Thomas said.

One initiative the county is taking to help with overcrowding is to move all Class D felons into another facility.

In November 2012, the fiscal court voted unanimously to inform the Kentucky Department of Corrections that the county is interested in building a 100-bed facility for Class D (lowest-level) felons behind the current jail.

“We sent a message that we’re very interested about building this type of facility,” Clark said during an interview late last year.

Once the state approves a permit for the expansion, the county will begin drawing up architectural plans and evaluating costs. The judge/executive said that by using the county’s own concrete and construction crews, costs could be reduced about 60 percent.

Clark said the expansion would roughly cost about $800,000 to $1 million, which would be funded out of the county budget and with bonds.

In other business:

• The Madison County Emergency Operations Center will be undergoing a 13,000-square-foot expansion next year and bidding will begin soon.

“We hope to be bidding in the next two or three weeks,” said Carl Richards, director of the Madison County Emer-gency Management Agency.

The $4 million expansion of the building will cause current county emergency operations to temporarily move to the Berea Joint Information Center (JIC) during the 2014 construction.

The U.S. Army wants them to be in a 24/7 operation mode by 2016 and moved into the expanded facility no late than 2015 because of the eventual demolition of chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot Chemical Activity.

The Berea JIC is in the former Dresser Building and the backup Emergency Operations Center is in the basement of Berea City Hall.

• Clay Hamrick, golf pro at Battlefield Golf Course, gave an annual update about the course’s revenue and play. In 2012, the golf course experienced a 14-percent increase in revenue. The maximum playing fee, which is $25 on the weekends, has not been increased in order to see this rise in revenue, Hamrick said.

There were 20,000 full rounds of golf played in 2012 compared to 17,224 rounds in 2011 and overall revenue has grown 44 percent in the past five years, he reported.

“That’s a fantastic increase, and we’re still the lowest price (per round) in our market,” Hamrick said.

Concession sales in 2012 brought in $90,000 and overall membership has gone from 172 members in 2011 to 215 in 2012.

“I’m very pleased with what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “We’re viewed as getting better and better all the time.”

The next meeting of the fiscal court is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12 at the Madison County Courthouse.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

 

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