Sheriff Dave Duchak told Miami County commissioners on Thursday that he needs more jail space for a growing number of local inmates and the bed rental program.
Unlike many counties, though, Duchak said Miami County has space available at the county Incarceration Facility, where a 60-person pod could be reopened once more correction officers were hired. The facility with four 60-person pods was built in 1999 but closed for a few years at the end of 2009 because of county cuts during the recession.
The sheriff's office has slowly opened pods since 2013 with two now housing men and one housing women.
Duchak talked with commissioners about what would need to be done, and at what cost, to open the fourth pod.
"I keep holding off but it would behoove us to move forward," he said.
The hiring of eight correction officers was proposed, along with some work needed in the vacant pod.
The estimated added annual cost would be around $500,000 for personnel and $286,000 for utilities, meals and medical costs, Duchak said. The hiring could take up to eight months.
The growing inmate population is due to more local people coming into the facility from the county Municipal Court along with the county's efforts to rent beds at the facility to the federal marshal's service. The facility was built with the intention of the county leasing beds to help offset facility costs.
An agreement to house the federal prisoners at $59 per day per prisoner was approved earlier this year. Federal prisoners also were housed before the 2009 closing.
The most recent contract called for the county to house up to 20 federal prisoners, although 10 federal prisoners have been housed recently because of limited space. Now, marshal's representatives have indicated an interest in up to 50 more beds, said Capt. Dave Norman, jail administrator.
If the county rented 60 beds, the income to offset facility costs would be approximately $1.292 million or around $750,000 once the personnel and added operating costs were taken into consideration, Duchak said. In addition to the federal contract, the county rents some beds to Darke County, Pike County and Greenville Police, Duchak said
Miami County also has a jail at the county Safety Building in Troy, where up to 48 prisoners can be held. That space is used for primarily for violent offenders, while nonviolent offenders are housed at the Incarceration Facility.
Commissioner John "Bud" O'Brien asked for more details on the average daily facility population before committing to the fourth pod opening, though he said he was not opposed to the concept.
"We have it there, we may as well use it," said Commissioner Jack Evans.