The Livingston County Jail is closing indefinitely and the 25 inmates now housed at the facility will start being transferred tomorrow (Wednesday) to the Daviess DeKalb County Regional Jail.
The Livingston County Jail is closing indefinitely and the 25 inmates now housed at the facility will start being transferred tomorrow (Wednesday) to the Daviess DeKalb County Regional Jail. Livingston County Commissioners and Sheriff Steve Cox made the announcement jointly during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in the commissioner's room at the courthouse. Extremely costly and critical repair needs were cited as the reason to close the facility, as well as staffing issues to safely and securely run the jail. “We do not have adequate revenue or reserves in Law Enforcement Sales Tax or general revenue to properly address any of these issues,” Presiding Commissioner Eva Danner stated. Local officials also took into consideration the unfunded federal mandate of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (estimated by the feds to be a $50,000 annual additional expense for Livingston County, beginning with 2013) and the expected loss of reimbursements on prisoner per diem from the state of Missouri. In 2010, reimbursements for prisoners by the state was nearly $160,000, while for 2012, it appears to be approximately $110,000). “All of us are in agreement that, at this time, we are not willing to ask our citizens to support an additional bond or tax issue to cover the significant costs to properly repair and staff the current jail facility,” Danner stated. The commissioners and sheriff stated that the best solution is for the county to contract its jail needs with the Daviess DeKalb County Regional Jail, located in Pattonsburg, about 60 miles from Chillicothe. “This agreement is expected to permit us to live within our means and not ask for additional revenue,” Danner stated. “This will also free up additional staff hours for the deputies and sheriff to conduct law enforcement work and investigations instead of guarding detainees.” The five full-time detention officers at the jail have been notified their positions are being eliminated in the near future. The commissioner stated that the county will periodically review this matter for future considerations of other alternatives. East District Commissioner Ken Lauhoff stated that jails are too costly for counties to operate and that some type of a regional jail might be pursued sometime in the future. At this time, the county plans to continue its 911 dispatch service. The Daviess DeKalb County Regional Jail has a capacity of 300 inmates. The facility be responsible for transporting Livingston County's inmates, and the county will be charged $30 per day, which is less than the rate the Livingston County Jail had charged other entities for housing their offenders. Cox stated that it was a difficult decision, but that it was the right step at the right time. “It's not good to let people go,” he said of his detention staff members who will soon be without jobs. “But, if we don't do it, we won't be able to live within our means.”