Management of inmate beds at our county jails may be rivaled only by air traffic control. Some inmates can't bunk in the same area as others, but the worst problem – too many prisoners and not enough beds.
At the Mono County Jail in Bridgeport, Sheriff Rick Scholl says they have 38 beds and usually 45 inmates. They bring in approved cots, temporarily.
Sheriff Scholl says he has talked to the Judges and District Attorney about a work-release program. Bottom line – on any given day, inmate numbers exceed jail capacity by 15 or 20%.
The Mono Sheriff has looked into a jail facility for the Mammoth area and even a new jail in Bridgeport. Scholl said 84% of the inmates come from the Mammoth Lakes area. The problem is money. Money to build is available but not to pay for ongoing operations.
At the Inyo County Jail, Sheriff Bill Lutze said the jail has 96 beds and he tries to keep inmate numbers to the high 80s. During the Tri County Fair numbers shot up to 94.
The Sheriff said that prisoner segregation rules make things kind of tricky. Males and females are separated and so are certain types of crimes. Those convicted of molestation are jailed separately. Those with certain medical issues and other special circumstances are jailed separately.
Sheriff Lutze has proposed a work-release program which will go before the Inyo Supervisors next Tuesday. The program includes tight restrictions on types of prisoners, work to be performed and costs. The plan includes an application process and background evaluations before inmates would be permitted to take part.
Both county jails – clearly in search of creative ideas to make all of the inmates fit into the facilities.