Feedback: Record Number Of Inmates Shipped From Jefferson County

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Inmates shuttled from jail to court and then possibly out of the county - it's something all too familiar for Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns.

He says his jail is at more than its max, meaning inmates are being shipped to other jails.

"As I've said for many, many years, we have to add on this jail. I'm certainly not getting any cooperation from our board of Legislators," said Burns.

Burns says his office has 63 inmates currently being housed at other jails.

That's a record with a price tag of nearly $100 a day - per inmate.

"Plus our transportation costs, our fuel, the overtime for corrections officers back and forth," said Burns.

County Administrator Bob Hagemann tells us he hasn't had recent discussions with Burns regarding inmates.

But based on past reports, Hagemann says expanding the jail isn't necessary.

Hagemann says shipping inmates out of county is "saving a lot of money this way. More than expanding."

And possibly complicating the issue: county Legislators have called for an outside investigation into how Burns handled an incident involving one of his deputies.

Could that investigation hurt communication between the two sides?

Chair of General Services Phil Reed doesn't think so.

"Open lines of communication are necessary when we're talking about public safety," he said.

Reed does offer a solution: send inmates to state prisons in the county - something that's not allowed.

So for now, Burns will continue to ship inmates out on the county dime.

 

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Friday, August 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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