Sen. Ritchie proposes solution to high county jail costs

Sep 7, 2012

State Senator Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) has made a proposal that she says will help ease overcrowding and lower costs at county jails.

Ritchie says the county jails are footing the bill for the cost of housing state parole violators in their facilities while they wait for the state to pick them up. But, she says, these state-ready inmates are not being picked up in a timely fashion which costs county taxpayers anywhere from $90-$130 a day per prisoner.

That can add up to as much as $2 million in a year for the three counties she represents: Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence.

Ritchie's proposal would move these inmates out of the county jails into the facility located in Watertown which just closed one of its dorms.

“I have a jail that’s centralized in the district that just closed down a dorm so this is an opportunity for the state to actually do something about the costs for county governments and provide critically needed mandate relief by housing those state-ready inmates in the Watertown correctional facility freeing up spots in the local jails,” she said.

Ritchie made her proposal to the commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections.

Ritchie also proposed legislation last session which would require the state to pick up its parole violators within 10 business days or reimburse the counties. That legislation passed the senate and died in the assembly.