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Hubbard County Jail report shows cost savings

Booking cell

Nearly 1,000 inmates came through the booking room of the Hubbard County jail in 2011.

And even though the facility operates below capacity, it saved taxpayers more than $292,000 last year.

According to program director Joe Henry, of the 989 inmates booked in 2011, 736 were male and 253 were female, for an average daily head count of 36.3 inmates who stayed a total of 13,254 days.

But according to Henry's report, even though the jail capacity was built for twice as many daily inmates, shutting down one wing would be impractical and expensive. The female wing has been targeted for a possible shutdown.

"If Hubbard County had done that last year, the cost to the taxpayers would've been approximately $132,150. The important thing to note here is that there could be no reduction in staffing because of the physical layout of the jail and Minnesota Department of Corrections requirements. Therefore, housing our female population in another county would've raised the operating budget of the jail by a significant dollar amount," Henry wrote.

"Note also that the $132,150 amount only includes the actual per inmate daily housing fee cost which for simplicity sake I used $50 per day to calculate (this is the low end of the scale and most agencies charge more per day). The $132,150 figure also does not include transport costs associated with transporting female inmates back and forth for court appearances as well as the time of arrest and release. These costs would be significant."

Henry said the old jail, while having a capacity for 23 beds, operated at a lower capacity, around 19-20 inmates.

That's because jail staff always have to plan for those late-night admissions, usually the bar traffic. Those late night guests don't usually make reservations.

But when Henry compared an average population of 20 inmates to the current average daily population, he figured the county, had the new facility not been built, would have spent $800 per day for those extra 16.3 inmates (36.3 minus 20). Multiplied by 365 days, it would have cost Hubbard County $292,023 in outside boarding fees, he maintains.

"Of course there would be a corresponding reduction in the Sheriff's Office operating budget because if we were still in the old facility we wouldn't need the same number of Corrections Officers," Henry's report indicates.

"Realistically, though, there is no way we could go back to pre-2005 staffing levels," Henry's report points out. "As a CO (correctional officer) that worked in the old jail I can remember weeks when only one, two or three people were arrested. In 2011 we averaged close to three bookings per day. That kind of volume would necessitate at least a doubling of jail staffing levels from what they were prior to 2005."

But Henry also maintains housing inmates elsewhere would cost Hubbard County much-needed jobs.

"I just think that the real, concrete need for a jail facility and the jobs that come with it is a factor that warrants consideration in these kinds of discussions," he indicated.

And because Hubbard County has been housing some Becker County inmates, the average daily population at the end of last month was 41.

"Last year the HCDC housed 54 different inmates for a number of other jurisdictions," Henry's report indicated. "The total number of jail days we housed these inmates for was 400. If we subtract that number from the 13,254 jails days for all last year we come up with 12,854 jail days for just Hubbard County inmates. That results in a 35.2 ADP."

Read the complete report at

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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