By DON AINES
6:22 PM EST, February 26, 2013
Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore is requesting funding in his 2014 budget for a day reporting center, a facility similar to one in Franklin County in Pennsylvania, which he says could push back the need to expand the county detention Center.
Mullendore is requesting $2.5 million for the center, which would be in the former Phoenix Color building near the detention center. That figure includes more than $1.3 million for operation costs, most of which would be for a contractor to operate the program, he told the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday.
The balance would be one-time costs for reconfiguring the Phoenix Color building with classrooms, offices and other facilities for the center, Mullendore said.
Two new county positions would be needed, a director and a deputy, Mullendore said. The contractor would provide counselors and other staff members for the center, he said.
“It will allow us to educate and treat folks in our community with drug and alcohol problems,” Mullendore told the commissioners. He said there is a direct link between substance abuse and the rise in recent years of burglaries in the county, particularly for offenders trying to steal drugs or cash because of their addiction to heroin or synthetic opiates, he said.
Incarcerating a person at the detention center costs about $64 a day, but daily treatment at a reporting center would cost about $26, Mullendore said. A day reporting center would provide drug testing, treatment and counseling for up to 150 qualified nonviolent offenders, Mullendore said.
If his request is approved, Mullendore said it would take until early 2014 to get a center up and running.
Fiscal year 2014 begins July 1, 2013.
Initially, the center could take in about 15 inmates a month who qualify for treatment, and build up to full capacity over a period of months, Mullendore said.
He said moving qualified nonviolent offenders to a reporting center, “will open up bed space (at the detention center) for those people committing violent crimes,”
Franklin County opened its day reporting center in 2006, with the aim of reducing the population at its new jail.
Mullendore noted that plans to expand the county detention center already have been pushed back several years and a day reporting center could push the date back even further.
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