CLEARFIELD – At Tuesday’s Clearfield County Prison Board meeting, the board received a small amount of good news in the form of lower population numbers at the jail.
October began with 168 inmates with 169 committed and 180 released, ending the month with 157. At the time of the meeting, the population was 149, although the day’s plea and sentencing court would most likely push that number up.
Currently, there are 11 inmates in Jefferson County and five in other facilities.
However, the population at the jail remains strained as overpopulation remains a concern and the resulting costs remain high.
Medical costs are one of the highest expenditures along with contracted services, and the jail is also overbudget for overtime for the corrections officers.
The commissioners had originally budgeted $250,000 for overtime for 2019. At the end of October, $381,134 had been spent on overtime.
Board member and Commissioner Mark McCracken said he has been thinking about the overtime issue, as the commissioners have been working on the 2020 budget. He said the overtime cost for 2019 is trending towards $457,000 for the year.
He suggested the commissioners and prison board consider hiring five more full-time corrections officers and explained his reasoning, providing everyone with a written outline of his proposal as well.
The cost to add five full-time COs would be approximately $217,500, including salaries plus benefits. Additionally, the commissioners would budget $200,000 for anticipated overtime; however, McCracken believes little of that will need to be used.
The justification, he said, is that most of the overtime can be eliminated and there will be 60 additional hours of coverage per pay cycle. Currently, during the last two-week overtime, the total hours were 326.
If five additional officers were added, he said that would result in 400 hours every two-week pay cycle.
Warden Greg Collins said that the overtime had been due to the overpopulation at the jail, requiring additional CO coverage per shift.
McCracken said it isn’t set in stone at this time but is something for the board and commissioners to consider.