Sheriff Paul Babeu announced today that all of the Department of Corrections inmates housed at the Pinal County Jail since July 2015 were returned to state custody this week, and all of the costs associated with housing the inmates under the emergency contract have been recovered or have been billed to the state.
Damages from riots last summer at a privately run state prison in Kingman led to more than 1,000 inmates being transferred to other prisons. 379 of those prisoners were accepted and housed in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center until this week.
Sheriff Paul Babeu said, “The last bus load of the department’s inmates pulled away from the Pinal County Jail on Wednesday afternoon and our jail population has returned to previous levels of 657 inmates. We have made the necessary staffing adjustments to make sure the jail continues to operate effectively and my staff as well as the inmates are in a safe environment.”
The department inmates came to the county jail after being part of a riot that damaged 3400 beds at the privately run Kingman facility last July. Sheriff Babeu said, “In spite of the violent behavior that brought the inmates to our custody, the disruptive behavior did not continue while in Pinal County. He went on to say, “Almost overnight, the population of our jail doubled. Chief Deputy Steve Henry and I are proud of our staff and their professionalism in assuring the inmates’ transition into their new environment went smoothly and any remaining tensions were quelled.”
A recap of jail incidents involving the department’s prisoners show that there was one incident of violence where a fight between two inmates resulted in the death of one and the other being transferred out of the county jail. There was one incident where drugs were found on an inmate from Kingman a few days after he came into the jail. During the nine-months of housing the department’s inmates, no staff members were assaulted and the minor spats between inmates were handled with minimal disruption to the population.
Sheriff Babeu summarized the financial results of the nine-month emergency contract saying, “The County recovered $1.355 million in salaries and related expenses during this contract. The reimbursement covered the cost of additional staffing and supervision, as well as overtime, meals, housing expenses and support services for the department’s inmates. We are facing budget cuts that may make it difficult to maintain critical staffing level in the future, but this contract got us through the remaining months of this fiscal year.”
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