Woodbury County sees costly surge in inmates

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Woodbury County is seeing a surge in jail inmates, leaving officials uncertain about how to pay for the increased costs.

The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/14jFSeS ) the jail averaged 215 inmates in July. That’s 25 percent more than a year ago and strains staffing that can handle 170 inmates.

The extra inmates forced the sheriff’s office to spent $9,463 on overtime in July. That’s about one-third of the amount budgeted for the entire year.

Sheriff Dave Drew has proposed hiring five additional jailers at a cost of $288,000, but county board members say there isn’t enough property tax to support the hires.

Officials also don’t know what caused the increase.

County Board Chairman Larry Clausen says it “could be a blip in time.”

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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