Underwear could help cover jail's bottom line

Friday, June 17, 2011

They're pinching pennies when purchasing underwear for prisoners in the pokey here.

Underwear that cost $1.50 each are being replaced with orange, stretch, one-size-fits-all undergarments, Sheriff Norman Dalton told county commissioners on the Law Enforcement Committee this week.

The unisex briefs cost 50 cents each, Dalton said. Inmates are not required to wear them. They may still bring their own underwear.

"They last 50 washings," Dalton said of the new fashion in underwear at the county jail.

Law enforcement committeemen approved the sheriff's spending plan.

It's an answer to a problem with inmates who arrive to serve their time saying they don't have any money and need underwear, Dalton said, indicating it's an economic move.

One of the commissioners at the meeting indicated that perhaps some inmates would realize what they face and decide to bring their own.

The sheriff's proposed budget includes unpaid reserve officers, a program started by Dalton. If they were paid, the cost could be more than $6,000.

Like all department heads this spring, Dalton has been assembling all his costs and re-examining decisions made in the past to see how he can economize.

The jail's budget ending this month -- as set last summer -- will probably total $1.32 million, Dalton's budget figures show. Dalton is asking for nearly $1.5 million for the jail's operation in the next fiscal year.

It would appear that the current budget ending June 30 would close out at less than $1.71 million for law enforcement.

Dalton would like to have a budget of about $1.8 million for the fiscal year starting July 1. Because of age and couple of wrecks, three new patrol cars are included in the spending request.

"I'm going to respectfully request three cars, estimated at $90,000," Dalton told several commissioners on Monday night. Old cars are kept for parts.

Those spending plans are reviewed by the budget committee before being recommended for adoption by the county commission.