No Jail Time To Cut Costs - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

No Jail Time To Cut Costs

Potter County Sheriff Mike Shumate Potter County Sheriff Mike Shumate
County Probation Director Terry Easterling County Probation Director Terry Easterling
Texas leads the nation in the number of people in jail or prison. Spending 3.3 billion dollars every year. Work release, community service and probation are all ways Randall and Potter Counties are using to prevent overcrowding and spend less. 

It costs roughly 1.2 million dollars a month to house inmates in Potter and Randall county  jails. That's 40,000 dollars a day. So law enforcement is turning to programs like community service and work release where it it's cheaper to hold inmates. 

"During that time they're supporting their family, they're paying taxes, they're buying groceries. If they're housed in our jail they're not doing any of those things. They're taking money out of your pocket and my pocket to lay out there." said Potter County Sheriff Mike Shumate.

The probation department has taken on a greater role to reduce the number of inmates spending time behind bars. 

"We can't build our way out of a criminal population problem. There's no way we can build enough prisons to house everybody that's convicted of a crime in the state of texas. The cost is enormous." County Probation Director Terry Easterling said.        

So GPS and electronic monitoring are now used to keep track of probationers. Easterling says There are also more intensive rehabilitative programs.

"It's a nine month program, 6 months of that is lock down behind ribbon wire in a TDCJ operated facility where they receive in depth in patient treatment, then it's followed by three months in a halfway house, then released back into the community. 

The cost for probation is only 2 dollars per day compared to the 45 dollars per day to house these offenders. Only inmates seen as having a chance to succeed are given these options. 
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