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Jail to be discussed next week

The decision on whether jail populations from Cass and Becker counties will spend time in Hubbard County’s facilities will be discussed in a county board work session next week, after commissioners review a staffing analysis compiled by a consulting firm.

Both neighboring counties appear amenable to agreements, contracts drafted by both. But Hubbard County commissioners have been cautious due to the need for increased staffing at the facility.

Five additional employees would be required if the jail was at capacity, sheriff Cory Aukes said. This would include four full-time staff members and an assistant administrator, as required by the Department of Corrections.

As of Tuesday, the jail housed 54 inmates, 11 of them from Becker County, with a capacity to add 50 more, Aukes said.

The board earlier approved the DOC sending 20 out-of-county inmates to the Hubbard County facility in July.

Aukes said unless the board approves upping employee numbers “we will have to tell the other counties to come get their inmates.”

But board chair Kathy Grell stressed the staffing analysis and costs must be examined closely before decisions are made. “We will look at pricing models.”

The Becker County contract agrees to pay for a minimum of 10 beds per day at $55 per inmate, per day. Cass County’s simply states Hubbard County will be compensated for services at $55 per inmate, per day.

Inmates scheduled for release or transfer will be returned to their respective counties or a designated detention center on or before their release date, the contracts state.

Aukes estimates additional inmates will add approximately $800,000 in revenue. After costs – staffing, meals, programming, record keeping and other services now implemented for Hubbard County inmates – he estimates the county would see $250,000 in annual profits.

Both Cass and Becker counties would be responsible for medical costs and transportation of inmates.

Cass County is interested in housing female prisoners in the Hubbard County Law Enforcement Center, Aukes said. The jail has an approximate three to one ratio of males to females.

Aukes said his staff is in favor of housing out-of-county inmates, if sufficient staffing is approved.

The contracts can be terminated by either party, with a 60-day written notice.

The work session to discuss the issue will be Tuesday, May 13.