Local News

Franklin County Sees Money in Federal Inmates

Posted October 15, 2007 6:28 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2007 6:54 p.m. EDT

— Franklin County commissioners have approved a $25,000 study to determine the costs of a jail expansion that could end up making money for the county.

The county jail often houses more than its maximum capacity of 167 prisoners, Sheriff Pat Green said. Overcrowding prevents officers from separating certain inmates, which can create dangerous situations, he said.

"Tempers flare amongst the inmates. We've had a couple of (inmate) fights since I've been sheriff," Green said, citing three since December.

The Franklin County Jail also houses dozens of federal inmates. Limiting the number of those prisoners would free up space for the local inmate population, but officials don't want to do that since the county receives $40 a day for each federal inmate.

Getting rid of federal inmates would cost the county about $800,000 a year, Green said, noting that area residents would have to make up that lost revenue to keep the jail running.

"I don't think they really would want to do that. As a taxpayer, I wouldn't want to. It just offsets the costs of running this jail daily," he said.

Commissioner Robert Lee Swanson said expanding the jail could bring in more money to offset the expansion costs.

"I think it's got to be expanding," Swanson said.