The Cherokee County Jail is getting an increasing number of inmates from the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO), according to Cherokee County Sheriff Dave Scott in comments to the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The people from CCUSO must be kept separate from other inmates, creating a space problem. Scott noted that inmates from the Buena Vista County jail could not be accepted because of the space limitation, eliminating an income source.
Buena Vista County cannot hold women at the jail at this time and had been regularly bringing those prisoners to Cherokee. Scott said the state doesn't pay anything for inmates to be held in jail in Cherokee, although CCUSO receives a per-day amount for each patient from the state.
CCUSO has many security features, including video monitoring, electronic doors an electric fence and concertina wire, but it is not a correctional facility.
Scott said that people are sent from CCUSO for criminal acts for extended periods, in one case for five months. Often they are sent to jail for fairly minor offenses such as one who exposed himself and one who pushed a staff member.
"I don't want the county to be a dumping ground for CCUSO," Scott said. He said that he wouldn't have that much of a problem with the situation if the state would reimburse the county for the jail stay.
He suggested that when a CCUSO patient is charged with a crime, the magistrate should immediately release him to the custody of CCUSO.
Ron Wetherell, chairman of the board of supervisors, suggested that the sheriff and one or more supervisors have a face to face meeting with the CCUSO director to explain the situation. Mae Hingtgen, county services director, suggested that the magistrate be involved in the meeting.