Lee Jail poised to raise $150,000 in revenue

Jun. 11, 2013 @ 08:52 PM

Pending a state contract, Lee County Chief Jailer Kent Everett anticipates that the local jail will generate anywhere from $140,000 to $180,000 in revenue in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Everett, a Lee County Sheriff’s Office captain, said he hopes to enter the Lee County Jail into the Statewide Misdemeanor Confinement Program, a housing arrangement administered by the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association. Once a contract is approved, Lee County Jail would provide housing for state misdemeanants with sentences from 91 to 180 days. The county would be paid $40 per day per inmate, and the jail would see little negative impact, he said.

“It makes good sense to generate that extra money,” he said. “Either way, we have to man the ship 24/7.”

The Lee County Jail can house 126 inmates, and last year, the jail held an average of 101 inmates per day, Everett said. The jail would retain the right to deny housing to state inmates if the jail was at or near capacity, he said. All of the inmates would likely be from Lee County or the surrounding area.

The county also has a contract with Fort Bragg to house soldiers with a military or criminal charge, Everett said, and he’s anticipating $70,000 in revenue from the accord.

“We were contacted two or three years ago by Fort Bragg to see if we’d be interested in housing military detainees,” he said. “These are individuals who, while on active duty, may have gotten into some type of trouble.”

Under the military installation’s policy, the inmates must remain within 50 miles of the base, and Cumberland County Jail is often full, he said.

“Last year we generated close to $100,000, and this year, we estimated $70,000,” Everett said. “A lot of these soldiers got in trouble while in Afghanistan, and when they get back to Fort Bragg, they start the prosecuting.”

The jail also generates funds through venue contracts, he said. The jail contracts with a vendor to provide a phone system for the inmates and the jail receives a commission, he said.

The jail-generated revenue is a small drop in the facility’s operating costs, Everett said, but every contribution is important.

“It helps out,” he said. “It really doesn’t compare since our budget is [about] $2 million, but every little bit helps out.”