MAYVILLE – One of the cost cutting measures Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan has called for in his 2016 executive budget is in regard to the amount the county spends on housing inmates at the Chautauqua County jail.
In recent years, the county has been forced to incarcerate so many residents that the county jail is often times at full capacity – meaning any additional inmates have to be housed in Nearby Cattaragus County jail or other facilities, at the cost of county taxpayers.
To reduce the jail cost, Horrigan is calling for the addition of two new positions in the probation department.
“What we’re looking at is an additional supervisor and an additional probation officer who’s going to focus on identifying those inmates that can be released under supervision, screening them, and then getting them in front of a judge to where we can get them released under supervision and get them into treatment programs,” Horrigan said. “It’s something that is maybe more appropriate than just sitting in jail because they can’t make bail.”
Horrigan says that the focus will be on non-violent offenders, and the county will not release anyone from jail who poses an ongoing threat.
Meanwhile, Horrigan said the count will also create an assigned council initiative with Cattaraugus County, which he says will also address the rising cost in the criminal justice system.
“When we have conflicts with public defenders office, we will be contracting with Cattaraugus County and they will handle the assigned council conflicts,” Horrigan said. “It won’t be all of our assigned council. We will still have local attorneys that will be asked to take on that task, but it will take on a portion of this and we feel it will reduce our assigned council numbers, which typically are significantly higher than budgeted.”
According the Jamestown Post-Journal, as of Sept. 5 there were 210 local inmates at the Chautauqua County Jail, many who have yet to be sentenced or cannot afford bail. Each inmate costs the jail an average of $76 a day, not including medical costs.
Horrigan delivered his budget on Wednesday night at the county legislature meeting. WRFA featured the budget presentation during our weekly community matters program on Thursday. If you missed it, an encore of the program will be broadcast this Sunday at noon and will be featured on our website starting next week.