That's to help avoid overcrowding and putting the county at risk of liability. The Winston Salem Journal reports that Wilkes County Sheriff Dane Mastin asked of and got permission from county commissioners to house some inmates at other jails and pay those jails to keep the prisoners. Commissioners agreed, Mastin said Allegheny County only charges 49 dollars a day per inmate, and they're the least expensive. He says they have room for about 25 inmates. Mastin says the money would come from money set aside for new jail construction in Wilkes.
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It's possible, with a long holiday weekend ahead, that officials could reach that point this weekend. If it happens, arrangements are already in place with Allegheny county to take Wilkes' surplus inmates. Monday on 3WC news, you'll hear the entire interview with Sheriff Mastin, in which he explains what would happen to reach the point of needing to transfer inmates, what solution is being looked at in the near-term, and what he sees down the road for local governments to deal with in relation to the inmates being shifted from state to local custody for budget reasons. That complete interview will be posted to our news blog over the weekend. You can listen to that at 12403wc.com.
Meanwhile, commissioenrs are split about whether to build a new jail on Hoots Road. At their last meeting, the split boiled, with Commissioner Tommy Garner making a motion that Brady Wooten be placed in charge of a new jail committee. The motion failed for lack of a second. Garner then verbally attacked Wooten. “Brady we all know that you are working with the Hoots Road Gang. At this point in time, I really am ready to let you put up or shut up and let all your cronies know what you’re up to and Mr. Austin with you.” Garner previously made a motion before the Board at the Aug. 17 commissioner’s meeting, to close the jail.
Commissioner Kevin Austin stated that he would be more than happy to work and assist to achieve the goal that Sheriff Cain outlined. “He is absolutely correct. We need to get this issue behind us and move forward. I remain confident that thoughtful planning and quick action can meet our current and future needs in a seamless fashion that will be within the means of our budget and taxpayers."
According to information provided to the Yadkin Ripple by the Sheriff’s Office, the cost of housing inmates for approximately the last three years was $664,903.80. Other options are being researched.
North Carolina Highway Patrol will be out to empty your wallet a bit if you don't. Patty McQuillin is the spokeswoman for the Highway Patrol and she says it could be a dangerous weekend if history proves true.
"Last year there were 1140 crashes with 582 injuries and 13 fatalities and that was statewide. Those were accidents investigated by the Highway Patrol during the Labor Day Holiday period."
NCHP says they want to see those numbers way down this year from last. They suggest that even if you get where you're going late, but not speeding you'll have a better chance of getting there.
And here's a really surprising sale: a $50 rebate at state owned liquor stores. But the ads that ran in newspapers yesterday are not from the state's alcoholic beverage commission, rather from the biggest liquor distributor in the world, Diageo. Diageo distributes all the name brand liquors like Captain Morgan's Rum and Johnnie Walker Scotch. WXII TV reports that a spokesman for the state ABC Commission said the rebates are in response to the poor economy, which led many drinkers to choose cheaper brands of liquor.
The state mandates 70 square feet of jail space per inmate, meaning a facility with at least 3,500 square feet of floor space would be needed to house 50 inmates. Mastin said jail staff salaries would account for much of the cost of a satellite jail and estimated this annual cost at $250,000 to $350,000 for a facility with capacity for 50 inmates. Plans for a new jail and law enforcement center have been in limbo since commissioners on April 23 voted 5-0 to reject general contractor bids when it became obvious there was no majority consensus on borrowing up to $26.1 million for the project.
He said he's even more concerned about overcrowding in the two Wilkes jails because the state's financial problems are resulting in county jails having to house inmates that previously would be in state prisons. He said he's already contacting sheriff's departments in other counties about housing some of his inmates, which carries a cost of at least $45 per inmate per day, because of an anticipated influx of inmates when the next Superior Court session starts.
East Wilkes Middle School is participating int he program, and has received the grant to get its startup efforts. The program, according to the release, will last at least eight weeks, and will end with a mass running event to celebrate the students' achievements. The program, which is a series of lesson plans developed by the National Association, also includes activities such as a distance log and a running journal to keep the kids engaged. Grant funds from ING have been distributed to nearly 300 schools nationwide that are starting the program this year.