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Clinton County Jail to start housing some inmates from Scott County

An agreement between Clinton and Scott Counties will help alleviate overcrowding in the Scott County Jail and help Clinton County pay for their new jail.

CLINTON, Iowa -- An agreement between Clinton and Scott Counties will help alleviate overcrowding in the Scott County Jail and help Clinton County pay for their new jail.

The Clinton County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement on Monday, December 2, according to a spokesperson from the county.  Clinton County's jail will take in up to 12 of Scott County's inmates at a cost of $55 per day, per inmate -- bringing in a potential $19,800 a month.

"We capped it at twelve (inmates)," said Clinton County's Chief Deputy, Steve Diesch. "We don’t want to overwhelm our staff."

Chief Deputy Steve Diesch said the new jail was built with 115 beds but right now nearly 50 are empty.

Scott County's Chief Deputy, Bryce Schmidt, said over the last 12 months between 25 and 50 inmates have been staying at other jails because of overcrowding in the Scott County jail system.  Those inmates are housed in Muscatine, Benton and Mercer Counties' jails.

"They have great facilities," said Major Schmidt. "It's just, unfortunately, when it's a two and a half hour trip one way and then you're loading and unloading... and then to come back. It's almost a full day for a transport officer to take inmates out or bring them back."

Schmidt said Scott County's jail holds a maximum of 363, but overcrowding starts to happen once about 310 inmates are booked in.  He said overcrowding is an issue with both their adult and juvenile populations.

"We are never able to come close to housing 363 inmates at our jail," said Major Bryce Schmidt.

The Clinton County Jail opened in mid-September, but right now it is not staffed to support full capacity.

"We have some things in the jail that we didn’t get because we got over budget," said Steve Diesch thinking back on the build. "So we used this money (from Scott County) to either get some of the stuff we didn’t get, or we’ll apply it to the bond referendum and save the county taxpayers some dollars."

Chief Deputy Steve Diesch said he understands the financial burden Scott County is in being overcrowded.

"For the last five years, I've been hauling inmates out of county," said Diesch reflecting on transporting inmates prior to building a newer, bigger jail. "Spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars... so for us to be able to help them alleviate some of that and still help our citizens of Clinton county. It’s a win win situation for everybody."

Major Bryce Schmidt said Scott County tax payers evidently pay the cost of out-sourcing inmate housing, but by reducing transport distance that cost could go down.

Chief Deputy Diesch said Clinton County will start off accepting twelve inmates but are hoping to expand that in the future.