Budget Cuts At Jefferson County Jail May Mean Early Release For Some Inmates

The Jefferson County jail plans to close one of its floors in the new year due to budget cuts. That could result in the early release of some inmates. 

Mike Taplin, a spokesman with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said the jail will lose nearly 250 beds, as well as 50 employees.

Inmates who have served at least half of their sentences will be released early if the jail is 2 percent above capacity, with priority given to those who have served more time on their sentence. 

The jail’s new capacity will be 1,148. On average, the jail holds about 1,300 inmates daily, Taplin said. After the cuts, some suspects who have been arrested may be turned away if the jail is already at capacity.

“So the people who were the victims of these inmates who are getting released early, they don’t get to see the inmates serve out the entire sentence that they were given by the judge,” Taplin said. “The possibility is that these suspects may re-offend while they’re out rather than when they were in jail or should have been in jail.”

The sheriff’s office said its 2020 budget has been cut by $5.5 million.

“While the budget requires a dramatic change in service, and knowing it will have a direct impact on our law enforcement partners and more importantly the communities we serve, the services we continue to provide will be done with exceptional quality,” said Sheriff Jeff Shrader in a statement.