The Miami County Sheriff’s Office again is renting jail beds to other jurisdictions after reopening a pod this spring that was closed because of the Great Recession.
The county has been averaging six to 10 contract inmates a day, at a cost of $55 per person per day for beds at the county Incarceration Facility north of Troy.
“We are limited in the number of beds available (for rent), currently 10 males and five female beds, so we have enough beds to accommodate our judges (prisoners),” Sheriff Dave Duchak.
Reopening a third 60-person pod at the facility also allowed the county to stop sending about 15 female inmates a day to neighboring Shelby County.
Commission President Jack Evans said commissioners have not received concrete numbers on rentals yet, but are pleased rental clients have been found. “We are very happy to see that,” he said.
The Incarceration Facility was built in 1999 with the goal of using one half of its four, 60-person pods to house local prisoners and to rent the other half to help offset facility operating costs.
The county housed prisoners for other counties and the federal marshal’s service before the facility was closed at the end of 2009 because of budget cuts blamed on the recession. The sheriff’s office reopened one of the facility’s pods in 2013 and the second in 2014.
The county’s female prisoners now are housed primarily at the Incarceration Facility. The other two open pods house males. Violent males and females are kept in the jail located at the sheriff’s department in the Safety Building in downtown Troy.
Duchak said the first beds are being rented to Greenville Police Department and the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, also in Greenville.
An ongoing concern is finding enough correction officers to staff the jail and incarceration facility, Evans said, particularly if a fourth pod opening is targeted. The opening of the third pod was delayed by months while the sheriff’s office worked to hire and retain correction officers.
Because of the increased demand for local jail beds and other changes since 2009, the number available for rent has declined.
Among the changes has been the state limiting the number of prisoners at the downtown jail at 48 versus the previous 115. Another factor is the drug epidemic, which has ramped up the need for beds for local prisoners, and the fourth pod remaining closed, Duchak said.
“I think we could sell more but we are staying pretty full,” Commissioner Greg Simmons said. “I think that has a lot to do with the heroin epidemic.”
The population is a mix of those who have been sentenced and those waiting to be sentenced, Duchak said. There have no issues beyond increased work of processing the prisoners and supervising them, he said.