Sheriff Budgeting For More Contract Beds In 2018

7/31/17 – The Dodge County Sheriff says he anticipates steady revenue from contract beds at the county jail next year. Sheriff Dale Schmidt told us on WBEV’s Community Comment this month that contracts with federal agencies have already helped pay a large portion of the expenses to operate the jail over the past 16 years. On a daily basis, the facility houses anywhere from 350 to 466 inmates, of which 100-to-150 are county or state inmates. The rest are federal detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals.  Last year, Schmidt says he housed around 284 contract inmates on average per day, above the 235 that was included in the 2016 budget. At $75-per inmate, per-day, the county generated revenues of $7.75-million dollars. Schmidt says the program allowed his office to operate the jail for roughly $1-million dollars, which he says is $3-million-to-$5-million dollars less than similar-sized jails typically operate. Schmidt says the program allowed him to return $1-million dollars in unbudgeted revenues to the county’s general fund. He says that offsets costs for staff, improvements, meals and medical. Schmidt is anticipating an increase of 14-to-16 contract beds for next year as he prepares the 2018 budget. He says in conversations with county officials it was noted that county wages need to be increased across the board to compete with other counties and attract a quality workforce; the increased budgeted revenue would help absorb that increase. Schmidt says his office has a good relationship with ICE and even if things were to change, he anticipates revenues would continue to come from housing US Marshall holds and he is also exploring the possibility of housing juvenile offenders, who are currently housed elsewhere in the state with taxpayer money.