Sheriff ready to again house municipal offenders in jail
Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri is ready to change his policy on housing municipal prisoners at the county jail.
Dalessandri won approval from the county commissioners Monday for an agreement between the county and local municipalities. It will set a fixed daily fee to house prisoners and detail what kinds of prisoners will not be accepted.
Due to overcrowding in the old jail, the county did not admit prisoners serving sentences on misdemeanor charges from local towns and cities.
Dalessandri set the daily housing fee at $62, the same amount the state Department of Corrections pays to counties to house its prisoners, and the amount the Immigration and Naturalization Service pays to Garfield County to hold undocumented aliens.
He chose that number, he said, partly because he does not know how much operating costs are for the new jail. Dalessandri would like to factor those costs into the daily housing fee. The new jail opened late last year.
“The figure is based on the old jail (costs) because the volume of prisoners could come down or the operations costs could increase,” he said. “It doesn’t reflect the true cost.”
He also said the jail will not accept juveniles or highly intoxicated prisoners. Nor will the jail take prisoners who are injured or have chronic illnesses because they would present a “huge financial liability” to the county, he said.
Commissioner Larry McCown asked Dalessandri for clarification of the agreement.
“If a municipality won’t sign the agreement, we won’t take their prisoners, right?”
“Yes,” Dalessandri said.
County attorney Don DeFord pointed out that the agreements will run only to the end of this year so that jail operating costs can be studied and the fee adjusted if necessary.
The new policy will go into effect 30 to 60 days after the municipality agreements are signed, Dalessandri said.
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