Crook Co. jail to have major impact
When the $17 million Crook County jail is completed sometime next spring, it's likely to have a major impact in Jefferson County.
Since shortly after the 37,500-square-foot Jefferson County Correctional Facility was completed in 2001, Jefferson County has had agreements to house up to 40 inmates for Crook County. The JCCF, which cost about $9 million to build, has the capacity to house up to 153 inmates.
Currently, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins, Crook County houses from 22 to 30 inmates at the Madras facility, at a cost of $72.68 per day, per inmate. That means that Adkins is anticipating a loss of $584,000 to $613,000.
"This afternoon, I have 94 inmates in my jail; 19 of those are Crook County's, 75 are Jefferson County's," he said on Monday.
"I do not expect Crook County to pull their inmates from my facility until May or June of 2019, so I'm expecting them to pay rent for most of the 2018-19 fiscal year," said Adkins, who is increasing the rate for the coming fiscal year by 5 percent, to $76.32.
"The commissioners and I are going to meet towards the end of May, to discuss the impact of Crook County leaving," he said. "We are in the initial planning stages of building the jail budget for the coming years without the Crook contract."
"I will be going before the commissioners asking them to support a levy increase to make up the loss of approximately $600,000," said Adkins, who hopes to have more information on a potential levy increase by mid-June.
"Since this jail was built, and occupied in about 2001, we, the taxpayers, have paid a reduced levy amount because of our contract with Crook County," he explained. "I have always campaigned, telling the voters, the Crook County contract has reduced our tax burden to operate and run this jail for the past 17 years. When Crook leaves, we will have to make up that difference and pay what it really costs."
The current operating levy of $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, runs through the coming fiscal year, which means that voters will need to consider a levy renewal in the November election.
"I cannot cut my staff and run a safe jail," said Adkins. "If I was forced to cut staff, I'd be forced to re-evaluate how my jail operates, closing portions of it and housing less inmates. There are a lot of what-ifs."
"I do not think reducing staff and having a matrixing system put in place to turn inmates away is good for the county," he said. "Having our jail as big as it is, and as efficient as it runs, allows us to put folks in jail, who don't obey the law. Right now, if you commit the crime, you will go directly to jail and do the time! Reducing staff, will cause me to cap the number of inmates I can house, and then we will be back in the same boat we were pre-2000s in the old jail. Not good."
The jail was designed to have a minimum of three deputies on duty per shift, whether there are 30 inmates or 110 inmates, he pointed out.
During the day shift of a regular work week, Adkins keeps about five deputies on duty at a time, to maintain court security, provide transports and perform other duties.
"Night shift, I can get away with a minimum of three deputies, but it is safer and more efficient (with) four deputies," he said.
Crook County is building a 31,500-square-foot, 76-bed facility southwest of the Crook County Courthouse. The county passed the bond measure to build the new jail in November 2016.
The JCCF operates with 18 deputies (including the three corrections deputies who are currently on administrative leave), one sergeant, and one cook. Since three corrections deputies are on leave, and have been charged with criminally negligent homicide, the Jefferson County Commission has approved emergency funds for two additional deputies to keep the jail operating "until we find out what happens to the three."
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office's patrol and animal control operations are supported by a county general fund budget. There are nine deputies, one sergeant, one Camp Sherman resident deputy, two Portland General Electric-funded deputies, and one animal control deputy. In the JCSO administration, there are four employees: the sheriff, a business manager, a records clerk and a civil deputy.
"I also have numerous SAR (search and rescue) volunteers in the Camp Sherman, 10 reserve deputies, and during the summer, we hire a few seasonal marine/park deputies," he said.
Asked about other possible options for renting out jail beds, Adkins said that he has no current plans for other contracts, "and I don't know that I would want to do this again."
Adkins said that there have been transportation problems, as well as difficulties arising from some of the Crook County inmates.
"Most of our legal problems come from Crook inmates," he said.
"I have considered trying to contract with the Department of Corrections, however other county jails have not been successful for one reason or another and their requirements are so strict, I don't know that we want to spend the money, time and effort to get compliant with DOC rules," said Adkins.