County jail relies on out-of-town inmates
It currently takes the Colorado Department of Corrections about six weeks to place male inmates in a DOC facility after they’re convicted. For women, it takes about three months.
When the DOC can’t place inmates immediately, they pay county jails to hold them.
At the Moffat County Jail, the majority of the 67 inmates on Thursday were from the DOC.
Moffat County Sherrif’s Department Sgt. Dean Herndon said the DOC inmates, inmates from Wyoming and inmates held on immigration charges provide a vital source of income for the facility.
Herndon is the jail administrator.
“If and when Moffat County ends up with more Moffat County inmates than DOC … we’re in trouble,” Herndon said.
The DOC pays the county $46 a day for inmates.
Inmates from the Citizenship and Immigration Service, formerly part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, pay $57 per day.
Some DOC inmates at the jail were convicted in Moffat County and are waiting to be sent to a DOC facility.
But, Herndon said, many of the DOC inmates in Moffat County come from Mesa County.
“They give us their DOC backlog,” Herndon said.
Mesa County jail administrator Steve Farlow could not be reached for comment.
Herndon said the “paying customers” help pay for the facility, which was built in 2001.
“To pay for this building, we’re going to take on as many as we can handle,” Herndon said.
The jail has 88 beds, and monthly averages have been close to capacity for all of 2005.
The most inmates the jail ever held was 119 on April 26. Herndon said the record number was the result of 27 UCIS inmates in one day, way more than usual.
When the inmate population is around 60 — which it usually is — Herndon said the corrections officers have a harder time disciplining the inmates.
Problem inmates can be moved from their regular pod and placed in holding cells, but have to be moved when new arrivals come in.
Herndon said a new corrections officer starts on July 18, which should alleviate some problems.
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