Orleans approves agreement to house federal detainees in County Jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2021 at 8:48 am

Contract with U.S. Marshals could net county several hundred thousand dollars annually

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Jail and the County Courthouse are pictured recently. The jail on Platt Street in Albion has a capacity for 82 inmates but has been well under that in the past year.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature approved a three-year contract on Wednesday with the U.S. Marshal’s Service to house federal detainees in the county jail, an agreement that could net the county several hundred thousand dollars a year.

The county agreed to house the detainees at $115 a day. The Sheriff’s Office also will transport detainees to court appointments in Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls, and will be paid $40 per hour for each of two staff members assigned to the transport and court appearance. The county will also be paid the current IRS mileage reimbursement rate, which currently is 56 cents a mile.

Sheriff Chris Bourke said the agreement could net the county $500,000 or more. It also won’t overwhelm the jail, which currently has 30 inmates in a facility with a capacity for 82. Of those 30 inmates, 12 are “state-ready” inmates who have been sentenced to state prison. The local jail population during the pandemic in the past year and in the era of bail reform has been about 15 to 20 inmates a day.

Even at the smaller inmate population, the county still must maintain full staffing.

“We have the same costs,” Bourke said. “With the agreement with the Marshals, we’d just have more food and some over-the-counter medications.”

Bourke said the county plans to have up to 10 detainees from the U.S. Marshals at the beginning of the agreement, and then expects to increase it to 15 to 20 detainees.

At 10 detainees a day, the county would be paid $1,150, and that doesn’t include any additional money for transport.

If the county averaged 10 detainees over a year that would be $419,750 in revenue. If the county averaged 15 detainees in the county jail, that would be $629,625 for the year.

The agreement approved on Wednesday runs for a year, from March 1, 2021 to Feb. 28, 2024. county can opt of the agreement with 30 days notice.