Federal inmate number holding strong

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The U.S. Marshals are upholding their end of an agreement with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Dennis Meeks said Tuesday.
Meeks said the jail received its second transfer of six federal inmates Monday – bringing the current total of federal inmates houses in the county jail to 10.
“Our first group came in April,” Meeks said. “We started out with five. One left last week to go to federal prison, which put us down to four. Then they brought these, which put us at the 10 we had agreed upon.”
Meeks said the federal inmates currently being housed are charged with crimes “no worse than what we already had in there.”
“The majority of (the federal inmates) are in on drug-related charges,” he said.
Meeks said a typical stay for an inmate lasts “about three to six weeks.”
“I can’t recall a time when we had someone longer than six weeks,” he said.
County officials predict the contract, which was executed in March, is expected to bring an estimated $100,000 in revenue to the county in 2010.
Under the terms of the contact, there is a $45-per day, per inmate charge for housing. Of that, $7 per day will be paid to the sheriff for feeding each federal inmate and the remaining $38 per-day, per inmate, split 50-50 between the county general fund and the sheriff’s pistol permit fund to be used “at his discretion solely for the purpose of compensating law enforcement personnel and other staff.” The county’s 50 percent is to be sent directly to the general fund.
Meeks stated previously his portion of the revenue is to be paid to CCSO employees not as a “raise” but as an annual lump sum payment payable only when revenues are sufficient to cover the cost.