Housing out-of-county inmates has turned out to be quite a financial boon for Faribault County.
Last year boarding fees totaled $287,806, that’s up from the nearly $250,000 in 2015.
Chief Deputy Scott Adams says Martin County paid the county $222,950, Freeborn County around $45,000 and the state Department of Corrections just over $20,000.
In addition, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and other federal agencies also utilize the 62-bed facility.
“Running a jail or anything to do with public safety there is never a profit,” says Adams. “Any revenue we can bring in helps offset that.”
Unlike other counties, the chief deputy says the local jail is able to handle female and juvenile prisoners as well as those with medical needs.
Before the county built its $12 million jail seven years ago, the Sheriff’s Department was spending between $100,000 to $200,000 annually to send its extra prisoners to Martin and Freeborn County and Algona, Iowa.
“It’s a business, so the more income we have coming in will mean less we’ll have to ask from the county for our budget,” Adams says.
The Sheriff’s Department has an annual budget of nearly $3 million and employs around 55 full- and part-time workers.
Adams says the county also earns a profit of about $23,000 from the $50,000 in snacks sold to inmates and about $6,500 from selling them phone cards.
He says any money from “commissary” sales must be spent on the inmates for specific reasons.
“It’s used to upgrade the library and computers. We are required to provide them with certain amount of news so we buy newspapers,” says Adams. “The money also helps pay for them to take their GED test.”