Commissioners discuss county jail expenses
Groveton News - January 2010
GROVETON – In a meeting lasting just over half an hour, Trinity County commissioners took care of their routine monthly items on Monday and eyed the rising cost of housing county jail inmates.
While reviewing the December financial report from Treasurer Jo Bitner-Bartee, County Judge Mark Evans noted the jail inmate expenses, indicating commissioners should continue to monitor the situation.
According to the treasurer’s report, during the first three months of the county’s budget year, they had spent $112,200 for “contract jail space” in facilities outside Trinity County.
That total represents 39 percent of the $290,000, which has been budgeted for the entire year, which has nine more months to run.
The December bill alone was for $40,920.
Trinity County uses outside jails to house most of its inmates because the Trinity County Jail in Groveton is only state certified to house seven long-term inmates. In recent months the daily inmate count has been well up into the 30s.
Following the meeting, Sheriff Ralph Montemayor said that the number of prisoners being held by his department has begun to decline as more and more are being transferred to state jail or prison facilities.
While not all of the county’s current inmate population is awaiting transfer to prison, a major percentage falls into that category.
Once a person is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence, it often takes up to six weeks before the state is ready to accept them. In the meantime, they must be held in county custody.
“As of this morning, I think we were down to 30 or 31 inmates and I hope that we can bring that number down even more,” Montemayor said.
During the brief meeting, commissioners also:
• Approved the payment of a $500 pauper funeral expense to help cover the cost of the burial of Howard Hamilton III.
• Approved a $5,000 bond Maydelle Mills, who has been named as the deputy county treasurer.