UPDATE: Stephenson County Jail to House Federal Inmates

By: Jorge Rodas
By: Jorge Rodas
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STEPHENSON COUNTY (WIFR) -- The Stephenson County Board voted Thursday night 17-4 in favor of ratifying a contract with the U.S. Marshal Service. That means the county will now house federal inmates awaiting trial once again.

The county took part in the program until 2010 when budget cuts for them to end the partnership. Now the jail will be able to house 29 federal inmates which at that number will bring $65,000 in new revenue into the county annually.

UPDATE: STEPHENSON COUNTY (WIFR) – It’s been four years since Stephenson County stopped housing federal inmates because of budget cuts. However, county leaders say the program is almost fully back up and running.

The more jail cells occupied, the more money Stephenson County makes and county leaders say a renewed partnership will do just that.

“Well it’s a good to have the program back again, we need to look at new sources of bringing in revenue and this is one way of bringing in new revenue,” said Stephenson County Board Chairman, Bill Hadley.

Corrections officers will soon have more bodies to keep an eye on and they’ll be federal inmates, all awaiting trial , it’s part of a deal with the U.S. Marshals service.

“What we’re actually doing is re-instituting the prisoner housing with the Marshal Service. W had this program in prior years. Matter of fact, we still had an existing contract, but at a rate that wasn’t beneficial to the county,” said Ed Mulligan, Stephenson County Board member.

Deputy Chief Mark Marti with the Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department says now that the county is taking part in the federal program, the county will hire back Corrections Officers laid off when they left the program four years ago.

“As the program ramps up, we’re going to bring back people that have been laid off. We are looking to hire a couple back initially and then go up to six total within the next 5-6 months,” said Deputy Chief Marti.

Stephenson County is already housing four federal inmates, but at full capacity, the jail can house a total of 29. If they reach that threshold, it will mean roughly $650,000 annually in new county revenue in Stephenson County.

The County board has to officially ratify the contract with federal marshals on Thursday, but leaders say there are more than enough votes to get that done. The county hopes to have nearly 30 federal inmates in there within 6 months. Boone and Ogle Counties already house federal inmates, however Winnebago does not.

STEPHENSON COUNTY (WIFR) – Stephenson County is looking to add more jobs to the Sheriff’s Department after cutting more than 2 dozen positions during the recession.

The County is in the very early stages of negotiations to house federal inmates at the county jail.

Right now, the jail has more than 60 beds open, but Sheriff Snyders can’t say how many federal inmates they’re looking at bringing to the jail or how much money the county will get for each inmate. The hope is that the county will get enough money from the federal government to re-fill some of the 27 positions it cut in 2010.

The details on this right now are limited, but the county finance committee will hear more about this proposal at its meeting tonight. Sheriff Snyders expects the county board to vote on it this Thursday.

The last time the county house federal inmates was in 2010, but it had to stop due to budget cuts.

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