The state department of corrections in Utah has established a unique relationship with county jails to house state inmates in their facilities. This is commonly referred to as contracting. Contracting with counties allows the state to control the prison inmate population by housing some inmates in county facilities. This helps the state save money because they reimburse the counties for those beds at 70% the daily rate of incarceration in the prison. Counties benefit because they are able to build larger facilities and create jobs in the community.

The issue for the past decade and beyond has been that the legislature made the agreement with the counties to reimburse at a rate of 70% of the daily incarceration rate with the caveat, subject to appropriations. As a result counties have not been reimbursed at the agreed upon 70% but something else. This has created a fight year after year between the state and counties to try to get the appropriate funding so counties aren’t subsidizing state inmates.

There were some promising developments during the 2021 legislative session that may lead to a solution. Watch to find out the background, challenges, and latest developments in funding for jail contracting.

Leland Pollock – Garfield County Commissioner
Tracy Glover- Kane County Sheriff
Derrin Owens- Utah State Senate District 24


00:00 Introduction to Contracting and Condition of Probation
04:58 Programming in county jails

06:35 What happened with Jail Contracting during the 2021 legislature
14:54 County jails as a “shock absorber” for Utah’s prison system

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Produced by Derek Dowsett
Host Chad Booth
Technical Director: Keith Southwick

ABOUT THE COUNTY SEAT: The County Seat is a public affairs program about the functions and issues of county elected officials and county government in UTAH. The County Seat is designed to provide the essentials to being an informed and engaged citizens in what we view as the most important level of government to daily life, county government. Topics range from the life of a ballot to the wild horses on public lands. The majority of Utah’s 29 counties are rural with a concentration of urban issues along the Wasatch Front. This dynamic lends an interesting twist to the show where we highlight a number of rural issues that the majority of Utahns may not be as familiar with. #CountiesMatter #CoutySeatS11E16

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