County jail scores 100 percent on inspection

BROOKVILLE — During a Jefferson County Jail Inspection-Intermediate Punishment Board meeting Monday, county Commission Chairman Paul Corbin congratulated the jail staff and Warden Tom Elbel on the results of the jail’s bi-annual inspection.

For the third consecutive time, the Jefferson County jail scored 100 percent on its inspection, which took place June 6.

The State Depart-ment of Corr-ections performs the inspection.
To achieve the perfect rating, the jail had to spend some money on routine maintenance items, such as painting.

Although the department inspects for cleanliness and graffiti, its main concern involves a review of the prison’s policies, which covers about 80 percent of the inspection.

The department interviews three or four officers and three or four inmates to see how things are going, Elbel said.

“They want to make sure that we’re really doing what we say we’re doing and not just having policies that we never follow, and that all of the policies meet Title 37,” he said.

Elbel said that if a jail receives a 100 percent on its inspection, it does not need to be inspected for another two years; the jail’s last inspection was in May 2009.

But the jail didn’t always fare so well with the department’s inspection.
According to District Attorney Jeff Burkett, the jail could never reach 100 percent before the jail’s facilities were expanded.

“We were running in the 50s and 60s back then,” Elbel said. “Overcrowding was our biggest issue back then.”

Renovations began on the jail in 2005 and were finished in 2006. Originally, the jail could house only 58 inmates; after the renovation, housing almost tripled to 155.

“The jail had to be expanded because our inmate population had grown too large for the previous facility,” Burkett said. “We were spending many thousands of dollars every month to have other counties house our excess inmates.”

In other business:
• Elbel also reported that the county is not holding out-of-county inmates at the present time. Jefferson County had rented the unused cell space to McKean County when that county sustained an inmate overpopulation; however, McKean County now does not have any surplus prisoners.

• The jail’s expense totals amount to $2,581,148 for 2011; last year’s totals amounted to $2,483,927.28.

• The jail’s revenue totals amount to $151,500 for 2011; last year’s totals amounted to $205,637.62.

The jail population report for May:
• Total Jefferson County — 112 inmates (87 male, 25 female).

• Total housed out-of-county — 10 inmates (eight male, two female).

• Total population — 122 inmates.

The cost for housing out-of-county inmates is $55 per day.

• The next Jail Board meeting will be held at noon Monday, July 25.