|Corrigan Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
IAH population down 123 due to budget cuts
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — In the days before the budget cuts being dubbed "sequestration" took effect Friday, Polk County was already taking a direct hit in the pocketbook. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been reducing the population of detainees at the IAH Adult Detention Facility, but from midnight Feb. 20 to midnight Feb. 27 the census went from 496 to 373 detainees being held for ICE, according to Sheriff Kenneth Hammack. Hammack receives regular reports on the population and oversees operations on the county's behalf at the facility. Hammack said he had been informed that Community Education Centers had been told to release a certain number of detainees facing deportation for administrative violations. "They gave them supervised release, which is kind of like a personal recognizance bond, and they were told to show up for court," Hammack said. "In coordination and agreement with local offi cials and our contracting agency, all detainees are released to family or friends or provided transportation to a Houston bus stop as well as bus fare," said Christopher Greeder, public affairs manager for Community Education Centers Inc. in New Jersey. Several sources had reported seeing detainees leaving in private vehicles. Part of Polk County's contract with CEC is a release policy that provides ICE detainees or inmates held for other agencies are not simply released at the fence line. The immediately fi nancial impact for the reduction in population is the loss of the $2.75 per inmate per day in revenue that would go into the county's general revenue fund Inmates at IAH also purchase telephone calls and that revenue also goes into the general fund. "We don't have anything invested in (IAH) dollarwise," County Judge John Thompson said. "It is an important revenue source for us. It allows us to do some things without having taxpayers pay for them." In addition to the lost revenue, Thompson said he has been informed cuts will be coming very soon to the Aging program which provides meals to senior citizens in Polk County and to Community Development Block Grants which fund water and sewer projects for most counties in East Texas. "We are pushing every button to get the census back, including looking at all avenues to fi ll those beds.