Facility takes in 11 state prisoners
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The return of state inmates to the Oneida County Jail began Tuesday when 11 prisoners arrived at the facility, said sheriff Grady Hartman.
“That’s all we’re getting for now,” said Hartman, who noted he signed a contract on behalf of the county to house up to 100 inmates who are serving state prison sentences.
He said he expects the county to receive more prisoners, but is taking a “wait-and-see approach” as to when additional prisoners might arrive at the jail.
Hartman said those 11 prisoners brought Wednesday’s total count of inmates to 79 in the jail, which is designed to house up to 201 inmates and would have room for up to 100 state prisoners.
He said the state must go through a “vetting” process with the prisoners to determine if they would be suitable to send to the jail, where they could be housed for up to 100 days before being rotated out.
Recent state Department of Corrections figures indicate the prison population in Wisconsin is around 6,400 above the design capacity for the state’s facilities. The county also had the opportunity several years ago to house state prisoners in the jail to relieve overcrowding.
Hartman, who expects the county to profit from housing state prisoners by receiving $51.46 per inmate per day, has asked county committees with a say in staffing levels for his department, because of the resumption of housing state inmates, to reinstate a corrections officer position that was eliminated in the 2016 budget, bringing the total number of corrections officers back to 26.
However, a motion recently backed by both the county’s Labor Relations and Employee Services Committee and the Public Safety Committee favored reinstating the corrections officer position on the condition that at least 20 state prisoners would be housed in the jail. Full county board approval would be required to reinstate that position.
Hartman previously noted the jail’s pod system makes it possible to house the additional inmates without having to increase the number of corrections officers on a shift, though he expects the officers on those shifts to be busier.