Jail’s Inmate Welfare Fund Gets Rich

A recent report on the financial well-being of the County Jail’s Inmate Welfare Fund showed that income ($1.2 million) outpaced costs ($891,507) for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which the Sheriff’s Office attributed to ongoing staffing vacancies and bumped up commissary sales. The department can use the money for the benefit of the inmates but also for related facilities and personnel costs. Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover said the excess money will be saved and put toward development of future programs.

Commissions from telephone calls and commissary purchases brought in approximately $645,500 and $375,460, respectively, while print-shop sales brought in more than $82,000. The highest expenditures from that money raised went to the Sheriff’s drug- and alcohol-treatment program ($256,340), with the second-highest beneficiary being administrative expenses ($210,789), which Hoover said covers the salary for an employee in charge of programs and other costs. Nearly $122,000 was spent managing the jail’s religious services, and close to $45,000 went toward the jail’s law library.

More than $25,000 was spent on administering the jail’s GED and culinary-arts programs, and more than $20,000 went toward recreation items for inmates like newspapers and televisions. The department spent upward of $3,200 purchasing bus tokens and vouchers and Clean Air Express tickets for indigent inmates, but Hoover said the jail isn’t planning on using Inmate Welfare Fund money to cover the costs of a currently externally run taxi program. A nominal amount of money ($351) was spent on commissary-related expenses, as the goods are provided through a vendor.

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