If Marion County doesn’t construct a new jail, the county will likely need to transport inmates to jails in other counties in the near future.
In the past year, the jail has reached its maximum occupancy of 16 inmates at least once. At one point before the Kansas State Fire Marshal ruled the jail’s capacity is 16 inmates, the jail held 23, Sheriff Rob Craft said.
The nearest jail Craft could find in 2010 that had room for 10 inmates was in Pratt, 120 miles away.
Earlier this year Craft estimated transporting inmates to out-of-county jails would cost $304,331 per year. That estimate included $160,600 to rent 11 beds, $8,131 for required inmate medical care, $96,000 for wages and benefits for two officers to transport inmates, $2,200 to insure two vehicles, $35,200 for fuel and maintenance, and $2,000 for annual training.
Transporting would require an additional $85,600 in start-up costs for vans and training, Craft said. He estimated the vans would need to be replaced every four or five years. Meanwhile, fuel costs continue to rise with no relief in sight.
If the county elects to or is forced to transport inmates elsewhere, the county would have to continue to maintain the existing jail as a short-term holding facility.