Why give DOCR the authority to refuse inmate once operational capacity and appropriation limits for contract housing are reached?
Currently, we have some judicial districts that routinely sentence inmatesthat are appropriate for county jail, to the DOCR. (see attachment showingnumbers of inmates received from each county over a 12 month period).There are various reasons why this may occur:-Frees up space in the jail so that they can house federal or DOCR inmatesfor a per diem rate?-Capacity issues exist in some county jails. Instead of the county having tocontract for beds or expand their jail, those costs are pushed up to thestate.
Why is this biennium the time to provide the DOCR with this authority when we are adding 240 beds to NDSP?
During the history of DOCR, any time new beds have been added withinthe DOCR system (JRCC added in 1999; DWCRC added in 2003), eventhough the growth in inmate numbers was stable around 3 -5%, weexperienced a 15% increase in inmate admissions for no other reason than
the “if you build it they will come” phenomena. We are already
experiencing a significant increase in inmate admission, partially due to theoil impact, but also attributable to what looks like a huge expansion atNDSP. The reality however, is that with the admissions increasing at thecurrent rate, the new DUI legislation, and the fact that half of the 240 bedswill immediately be filled when we bring in the 118 inmates that we havesitting in county jail back to NDSP, we could be at capacity before the endof the biennium, unless there is some significant changes in sentencingpractices. The NDSP expansion was designed and built to meet the DOCRneeds until 2017. We will be right back to square one if correctionalresources, both county and state, continue to be viewed as an infiniteresource that do not have to be prioritized according to risk and publicsafety factors.