The Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jails and Correctional Facilities Authority met this afternoon.
The committee heard from the Division of Correction and Rehabilitation regarding employee recruitment, retention, vacancy rates, and the status of the juvenile population.
At least eight prisons have a vacancy rate of 40 percent or more. The National Guard is still assisting. This has led to guard members seeking full-time work within the prisons. Maintenance continues to be an issue at various facilities. Recruitment is continuing and improving. The Division has been encouraging facilities to be proactive when interest is expressed by individuals who stop by requesting information. The Division is changing the application process to make it less intimidating.
The juvenile centers have about 325 individuals in the population. There are 76 kids in the aftercare program, which is like adult parole. This program allows kids to receive assistance finding housing, obtaining licenses, and job assistance. Juvenile centers must adhere to children’s nutrition requirements and food is prepared on the premises.
The committee heard a brief overview of House Bill 3552 (2023 RS). The bill amends per diem jail costs. This bill established a tiered system for local governments to pay per diem charges for the incarceration of individuals in regional jails. Per diem rates are set at $54.48, subject to changes as required by the State Budget Office. Under this tiered system, local governments will be allotted inmate days calculated by the total number of residents multiplied by .52. For each inmate incarcerated up to 80% of those allotted days, the local government will pay 80% of the per diem charge. For the incarceration of individuals between 80% and 100% of the allotted days, the local government will pay 100% of the established per diem rate. For the incarceration of individuals over 100% of the allotted days, the local government will pay 120% of the per diem rate. The bill also authorizes counties to seek reimbursement through a memorandum of understanding from certain municipalities for up to one day of incarceration of inmates arrested by the municipality on county charges. The intent of the bill is to reduce the fiscal burden on counties and the effective date is June 9th.