City satisfied with new jail contract

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The City of Bainbridge’s decision one month ago to begin sending its misdemeanor inmates to Pelham has worked well so far, Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby and Public Safety officials told the City Council Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Hobby, Public Safety Director Larry Funderburke and Major Walter Landrum presented data related to the city’s contract with the City of Pelham to transfer and house inmates about 35 miles northeast of Bainbridge.

Between July 21—the first day Bainbridge inmates were moved to Pelham—and August 17, the city’s inmate costs under the new contract were about $4,300, Landrum said. According to Hobby, inmate housing costs under the previous contract with the Decatur County Jail ran approximately $8,000 to $10,000 per month, depending on the number of inmates.

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According to city court data, 14 people have been taken to Pelham so far. 17 people were released before transport to Pelham by either obtaining a bail bond or being released on their own recognizance.

The nine current inmates are waiting for Municipal Court to be held on Wednesday, Aug. 18, Landrum said. Of the five inmates who have spent 14 or more days in jail, four had violated their probations on previous charges. One other was charged with driving without a license.

Landrum, who is BPS’ patrol commander, said he has instructed officers to allow adequate time for detainees to arrange bail before they are transported from BPS headquarters to Pelham.

Landrum said he had not observed any problems with the custody procedures under the new contract. He said the longest period of time a person has had to wait to be transferred thus far is two hours.

Hobby said a survey of 25 Georgia cities comparable in population to Bainbridge showed their average inmate housing cost to be $21.30 per day, per inmate. The Pelham City Jail charges $30 per day, per inmate. Decatur County had proposed a rate of $38 per day, per inmate that was tied to a 1995 contract of $24 per day, per inmate, adjusted for inflation.