Opp may send some inmates to Geneva Co.

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 3, 2013

There is no plan by Opp officials to back out of the city’s inmate-housing contract with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office and county commission, but the police department may consider other options for long-term housing of inmates.

Reports published earlier this week stated the Geneva County Commission had approved a contract with the Opp Police Department to house Opp inmates due to overcrowding at the CCJ.

The article stated that Geneva County Sheriff Mike Ward was approached by Opp officials to house “probably between five to seven per month, from three days to 30 days.”

But Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald said Friday that isn’t exactly accurate.

“Right now, we’re exploring other options in terms of where to incarcerate sentenced prisoners,” McDonald said. “There is no intention, at this point, of the people we arrest not being placed in our city jail or the county jail.

“I talked with Sheriff Ward and asked if it was feasible to put some sentenced prisoners there,” he said. “He went to the commission, and apparently they said they had no problem with that. We haven’t started on contractual work yet.”

Currently, the OPD pays a rate of $32 per day per inmate for housing at the CCJ. Geneva County charges $20 per inmate per day, the article stated.

McDonald said if the plan is implemented, it would mean that only those serving long-term jail sentences would be sent to Geneva.

“Say that inmate is serving a three-day sentence,” McDonald said. “Then, we’re going to take them to the Geneva County Jail. If they’re arrested for DUI, they’re either going to go to the city jail or the county jail.

“The only way it makes sense is to take those who are serving long sentences because it’s cost-effective for the city,” he said. “There would be a price difference, but I’m not sure exactly how much, and that would be the only thing that would generate the possibility of us doing that.”

With the provided pricing, the city could see an estimated $360 per month savings in housing costs for an inmate incarnated for a month in Geneva versus the CCJ.

McDonald said there have not been any issues between the City of Opp and the CCSO regarding inmate housing.

“We are not having any problems with the Covington County Jail,” he said. “They’ve been good to us. It’s just of a matter of looking for any ways we might be able to save some money.”