Lincoln County deputies and jailers met challenges during the first year of operation at the new jail, and dispute continues over the final cost of construction.
The jail was long studied, discussed, contested and filled with controversy during construction. Likewise, the operation has also challenged the staff, Sheriff Jerome Kramer said.
The staff needed to be trained for new positions with different duties and run the center in a way that improves the finances, security and technology, Kramer said in a recent statement.
County officials are still disputing construction charges from the general contractor. At issue is the cost of the roof of the $13.5 million building, which had to be replaced after the first roof leaked.
The builders say the county should pay the cost of replacement and are also asking for money for weather delays during construction.
The county says otherwise, and has filed other complaints about the quality of construction.
The dispute is headed for arbitration, but no date has been set yet, County Commissioner Willis Roethemeyer told the Bulletin on July 10.
During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the jail has housed a daily average of 93 inmates (73 males and 19 females) and booked approximately 2,030 people.
A total of 100,635 meals have been made in the kitchen, an average of 283 a day. There have also been 7,204 inmate visits through the jail's video screens.
The jail has shown a $237,391 financial gain for fiscal year 2010-11. The county's cost was around $157,000 to house inmates in other jails, because of lack of space in the old Lincoln County jail.
Also, nearly $80,000 in fees have been collected for housing inmates from outside jurisdictions, Kramer said.
The jail has received another $43,000 from the commissary and through collect inmate phone calls.
New programs have been implemented to help both the community and the inmates, Kramer said.
Through a partnership with Lutheran Family Services, an intensive outpatient program for drug and alcohol treatment has been developed. Previously, inmates were sent to other areas of the state for counseling, which cost the county a lot of money, Kramer said.
Well over 400 hours of session time has been logged by 57 inmates using the new counseling program.
Also, in the old jail, inmates with mental health issues had to be sent to other facilities, requiring extra costs for secure transportation and lodging. Those inmates can now remain in the new jail, where medical staff can see them.
Medical treatment costs by others, outside the center, have dropped from $26,000 to $13,300. Much of the savings is because there is a staff nurse and an examination room in the new jail.
Also, inmates are going to work in the new Inmate Worker Program. Inmate workers help prepare and deliver meals, do all the laundry, clean and attend to most of the grounds of the jail.
More than 1,200 hours of inmate work has also been donated to the animal shelter, Kramer said.