By Ray King
The Jefferson County Adult Detention Center on Friday had 245 detainees, one of the lowest numbers the facility has seen in recent months, thanks to some help from the state.
On Thursday, the Department of Corrections picked up 14 men who had previously been sentenced to prison and another dozen or so were picked up last week.
Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr., said many of the detainees who were held in the jail had either already been sentenced or were there because either their probation or parole had been revoked and were waiting bed space in one of the state’s prisons.
“Up to this point, there had been some delays of people who had been sentenced but not transported by the state while they looked at their own bed space,” Woods said. “When the space did open up, they tried to eliminate some of the strain on county jails.”
While Woods said fewer prisoners means less possibility of exposure to Corona virus and makes security easier, it can also drain revenue.
“We’re seeing that in every office,” Woods said. “The services county residents have relied on are not there because the courthouse is shut down.”
As a way to help the revenue stream, Woods said county officials are negotiating with the U.S. Marshal’s Service about increasing the fee the county is paid to house federal prisoners.
Woods said because the pod where federal prisoners are held is separate from other pods, the federal prisoners can be isolated for 14 days with no chance of exposure to detainees in other parts of the jail.
He said that if the current situation continues, the county may have to take a look at increasing the number of categories of prisoners the jail will accept. The current policy is that only people charged with a violent felony or arrested on an active felony warrant will be booked in. All other who would have normally been incarcerated are being given a court appearance date and released.