CLEARFIELD – Population at the Clearfield County Jail was the main topic of discussion at the prison board meeting yesterday.
The month of September started with 154 inmates with 138 committed and 137 released.
The average daily population was 155 and the month ended with 153 inmates. Additionally, there were 25 on home detention.
Because of the number of inmates, 28 are housed in another county and it was noted that for Jefferson County, Clearfield County pays $65 per person per day.
Warden Greg Collins attributed much of the population to the rampant drug problem, and other board members noted a problem with mentally ill inmates waiting for evaluations.
President Judge Fredric Ammerman noted that 21 of the inmates are serving for failing to pay fines, costs and or restitution.
He said the collections office has increased worked to collect from people who don’t want to pay and warrants are being issued.
Some have suspended sentences and immediately are sent to jail; however, if they pay what Ammerman referred to as a “purge” they can be released.
Sometimes the payment can be made immediately or within a few days, but sometimes it can’t be paid and they have to serve the sentence.
Ammerman said he has talked with Judge Paul Cherry about some options and they will have more discussions. One thought is to look into lowering the purges and relieve some of the inmate population.
He said that the county could look into building an addition to the jail and hiring more correction officers; however, that would be “a lot more money” than the current situation and isn’t really an option.
The board also talked about a new procedure to move the inmates sentenced to state incarceration faster.
Collins said he went to a conference and learned that other counties have a different process with their packets that he would like to try implementing in Clearfield for a few months.
He said the jail personnel will make up the needed packets of paperwork and make the transportation arrangements. The probation and prothonotary offices will need to expedite certain paperwork, but it will take pressure off of the court administrator’s office.
Collins said if they are able to make this work, it will help alleviate some of the jail population, as well.