County Commissioner Bill Farnham and Dixon Marshal Cliffty Yoakum discuss ways to solve Dixon's problem with not receiving enough county prisoners.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 18, 2008) — The head of Dixon’s police department told Pulaski County Commissioners on Thursday morning that he’s not getting the number of prisoners Sheriff J.B. King had agreed to house in his city jail.
“We’re having a hard time with prisoners not being sent over,” said Marshal Cliffty Yoakum. “I’m down to one now, and what really bothers me was when I called and said, ‘I’m down to only one,’ they said, ‘We’ll send you down one or two,’ and then they didn’t … I thought maybe my commissioner could do something about it.”
Yoakum said he asked the Pulaski County jailers if they have any prisoners in other jails such as Phelps County or Miller County, and they told him Pulaski County does continue to house inmates outside the county. That’s contrary to a prior agreement between Pulaski County and the city of Dixon that the county will house overflow inmates in Dixon before sending them outside the county to other jails.
Pulaski County pays $35 per day to other jails for each inmate held outside the Pulaski County Jail, and almost always has to house inmates elsewhere because Pulaski County’s inmate population is routinely larger than the maximum of 28 inmates that can be held in the county jail. That’s beneficial for Dixon, which uses the Pulaski County jail fees to keep its jail open and keep its own local city dispatch service.
Responding to questions from Ricky Zweerink, who will succeed Western District Commissioner Dennis Thornsberry when Thornsberry’s term expires at the end of the year, Yoakum said the Dixon jail can hold up to six inmates but the county’s agreement was to put at least four inmates in the city jail before sending them to other counties.
The agreement has worked well for both the city and the county, Thornsberry said.
“Rather than send money out of the county, that’s been our agreement for several years. It’s closer; why would you want to take them farther down the road?” Thornsberry asked.
“It’s closer and quicker to take them to Dixon,” Farnham said.
After a private conversation with Yoakum, Farnham went upstairs to find King and discuss the matter with him.
“Cliffty, did you get your prisoner problem solved?” asked Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall after Farnham left the room.
“He said he’d take care of it, and I trust him,” Yoakum said. “If it’s not, I’ll come back over here.”
Ransdall proposed a different way to take care of problems,
“If it happens, can you call me rather than coming over?” Ransdall asked.
In other jail business, commissioners received bids from numerous local restaurants for jail meals next year. The contract has been held for a year by Creative Catering, which is run by the owners of Sweetwater Barbecue in St. Robert.
Creative Catering submitted a bid this year of $2.98 and $2 per snack. The Star Restaurant won the 2009 contract instead with a bid of $2.95 with snacks at no cost to the county. Snacks between meals are rare but are needed with diabetic or pregnant inmates.
Other bids were from Crazy Jack’s Sports Bar and Grill for $3 per meal and $1.50 per snack.
“Creating catering has done an excellent job, but it’s close to a $1,000 (per year) difference we’re looking at,” Ransdall said.
“The current people have done an excellent job, but we need to be getting the most for our money,” Farnham said.
Yoakum came to the commission after the bids were finished and asked what the county paid for its meals.
“That’s not too bad,” Yoakum said. “Ours are a little higher than that, but we’ve got only one restaurant that actually fixes three meals a day. They’re really good about it; they’ll be there Christmas or any other holiday.”