Madison County Sheriff’s Office hopes to improve care and housing of inmates

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning says his office has been running a tight budget in jail operations for the past several years, but with the number of inmates on the rise it's becoming even harder to work with the money they have; that's why they've turned to the commission for more funding.

"It's costing more to operate the county jail than it ever has in it's history," Dorning said.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office recently requested an additional 3.8 million in funding, but where would that extra money go?

"The largest impact would be for the care and housing of inmates," Dorning said.

One of the biggest problems with the Madison County Jail right now is how many inmates they're dealing with; the jail was originally built for 1,200 inmates and they're pretty close to maximum capacity.

"If you look at the jail population last year on August 16, 2017 we had 903 persons in the Madison County jail; we're like an average sized prison," the Madison County Sheriff said. "Today's count was 1,065."

Dale Strong, chairman of the Madison County Commission, said that one of their top priorities is to provide a county jail, but numbers of inmates have been on the rise the past few months, and they make it harder to properly fund the jail.

"The more inmates you've got, the more cost it is," Strong said. "About $50-56 a day to incarcerate someone in the Madison County Metro Jail awaiting their day in court.

With the recent growth, Sheriff Dorning says the jail will have an average of over 100 inmates per day but the 2017-2018 budget was not prepared for those kinds of numbers.

Efficient, effective, fair and humane is how Sheriff Dorning described how he wants to house inmates and he hopes the extra funds will help do that.

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