MOUNT VERNON — Population at the Knox County Jail is at the unusually low level of only 42 local inmates and three federal prisoners, Sheriff Dave Shaffer reported Thursday during his monthly meeting with the Knox County commissioners. Last year at this time, the population was in the 80s.
Shaffer said they’re taking advantage of the low population to take care of some basic repairs and maintenance in the dorms and installing the new cameras he reported on earlier this spring.
Shaffer reported that they will be participating in a program with the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which the jail sends monthly reports on who is incarcerated at the jail to the SSA.
In most cases, Social Security benefits cannot be paid to people who are in prisons or other public institutions, so if prisoners are reported who are receiving those benefits, SSA can suspend the benefits. Incentive payments are made for information that results in suspension of payments.
For every Social Security or SSI recipient that is suspended as a result of information provided, the jail will receive $400 if the information is received within 30 days of confinement, and $200 if the information is received after 30 days but within 90 days of confinement.
The department has received two new 2013 cruisers. Shaffer said they saved about $600 per car by buying the 2013 models instead of 2014s. The price was $20,478 each, not including trade-in values. A 2003 and a 2006 cruiser were traded in.
The sheriff reported that 852 concealed carry applications have been received this year, compared with 350 or 360 last year. Part of that is the result of applications from Licking and Delaware counties, where it takes a lot longer to process applications.
Shaffer said a new fund will have to be set up to handle the new fees to be paid by adults convicted of arson-related crimes. The system will work in a fashion similar to the sex offender registry and those convicted of the crimes will have to pay a $50 fee, collection of which is to begin in July.
Shaffer also reported that the jail kitchen passed its sanitation inspection by the health department. He said the jail still has a federal inspection to pass.
He also said the contract for housing federal prisoners expires at the end of the year and negotiations on renewing that should start in the next couple of months.
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