Sunday, May 16, 2010

Class C violators soaking up Corsicana jail beds

Corsicana's not a big place, but residents of that East Texas town sat in jail last year for more than 3,000 person-days after being arrested for Class C misdemeanor violations, according to the Corsicana Sun:
Kathy Hollomon, county auditor, shared figures Friday indicating jailing city prisoners cost the county $186,385 in 2009. The county stated it kept Class C prisoners for 3,085 “jail days” last year. The cost per day in 2009 for housing a prisoner was estimated by the auditor to be $60.95 per day.

“We just wanted to get these figures out to the public, so they would know what it’s costing us,” said H.M. Davenport Jr., county judge.

Corsicana estimated the number of prisoners would be about 600 prisoners for 2,100 “jail days,” based on rough estimates of a four-month period this fiscal year.
C misdemeanors are fine-only offenses, but the US Supreme Court in Atwater v. Lago Vista said that Texas law allows arrests for these violations at officers' discretion. Gov. Rick Perry twice vetoed legislation in response to the SCOTUS case that would have limited that authority.


Anonymous said...

"After discussing the costs related to holding Class C prisoners brought to the county jail by the City of Corsicana, the Navarro County commissioners decided not to take any action on the agenda item considering charging for such services in a special meeting Friday afternoon."

"Other counties also charge the cities for jail services, although not all do."

Absent an interlocal agreement, numerous Texas AG opinions have opined the county sheriff must accept once committed by a magistrate those charged with class c violations. Because they are violations of "state law", the county cannot charge the city a fee to hold the prisoner.

Course the sheriff can get these inmates out a lot quicker by granting them 3 for 1 credit.

I never have understood why cities don't offer up more community service in lieu of paying a fine when it's ultimately costing city taxpayers too for a defendant to sit in the county jail all while they get three meals a day, mediacal and dental, air conditioning and cable tv.

Gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

They must want a newer, bigger jail. To fight crime!. For the Children!

Anonymous said...

We've had this problem for years. The instant debate is whether or not the county should charge the city for keeping those low-risk prisoners, because the city is trying to charge the county more than it has in the past for various services. It's probably just a shot over the bow, telling the city to back off on hiking up rates for library, fire, EMS, and other services that the county residents use.

We built the existing jail a few years back, with the usual promise that we could rent our beds. Problem is, we've kept it full with our own folks ever since. Hell, every time we bust a cock fighting ring we arrest so many that we have to house our prisoners in other counties.

The way Navarro County courts have run has been a problem for years, but nobody wants to change because the only people offering suggestions "ain't from here." Judge Jackson, the prosecutor in the Willingham case, tried, on average, 13 cases a year. So disposition rates are abysmal and we just warehouse prisoners.

Gotta love The Can.

Anonymous said...

Why take prisoners for BS offenses?

Think about it....

Bubba said...

Criminal are criminals, no matter the offense. They belong in jail. Don't break the law and you won't end up in jail.

Anonymous said...

That's no troll, that's the Navarro County Criminal Justice System!

Anonymous said...

One family’s mini-boycott of rogue counties, cities and towns has no immediate effect. It happens later on when that family tells others, that tell others, and pretty soon the cops are left simply to harass the town folk. Once it get's out to avoid that portion of 45 South, Corsicana will become the new Tulia.

The ACLU, NAACP, LULAC, and CNN will end up in the mix due to people breaking fine-only laws and ending up in jail, loosing their jobs, homes, etc. All at the officer's discretions of course. It's a good time to be a lawyer & Bubba in Sleepy-town, USA.