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March 26, 2013

Inmate increase raises problems in new budget

CHICKASHA — The cost of housing an increase of about 200 inmates during the 2012-2013 fiscal year may present hard times for the county.

Shane Wyatt, Grady County Jail Administrator, addressed the Grady County Commissioners Board concerning the increase of county inmates.

Wyatt presented a report showing the number of county inmates and cost to the Grady County Criminal Justice Authority.

In 2002, a budget of $600,000 was given to the jail for an average of 91 inmates. However, the cost for inmates for the fiscal year 2012-2013 is $1,926,755.47. Medical costs are another factor for the jail that has to be factored in.

It costs about $44.49 per day to take care of one inmate at the Grady County Jail, Wyatt said. Wyatt said the jail is open to suggestions regarding how they can trim their numbers back.

Many of the inmates are in the jail for not paying child support, failure to appear, sitting out fines and drug charges. Wyatt said there is an effort to get the inmates into a work program, but not all of them are willing to work and would rather sit out their sentence.

The inmates upstairs at the courthouse and the women's facility are also full.

The commissioner's noted a lack of money and space in the jails and prisons is a national problem, not just a local issue. They recommended that Wyatt keep a quarterly report and present this problem to the excise board at their June meeting.

As the weather warms up, Grady County could be in for a bad fire season, according to Paulette Nicholas, Grady County Emergency Management Deputy. Emergency management has replaced three sets of tires and will need to replace two more on the county's firetrucks. Nicholas said it is imperative that these repairs take place now, before the trucks are out fighting fires this summer.

There has been an increase in emergency calls from the Alex Fire Station, Dale Thompson, GCEM Director reported. There have been 51 emergency calls since the first of the year, bypassing Pioneer for emergency calls for accidents, medical calls and fires.

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