Multi-Million Dollar Annual Subsidizing of Fed’s Housing of Illegal Aliens & Others at the McHenry County Jail – Part 2

Yesterday, based on McHenry County Sheriff’s Department figures organized by $60,000 consultant Joseph Summerill, McHenry County Blog pointed out that over a five-year period, Sheriff Keith Nygren’s program to house illegal aliens and prisoners in the McHenry County Jail cost taxpayers about $5 million to 6 million annually (from 2008 through 2012).

This data was not made public in a format that could be understood by most people until last spring, however.

Using the data that the Sheriff’s Department made no effort to provide previously to the County Board, which approves his budget, one can perform cost-benefit analysis.

It shows that the program has been a money loser for a long time.

When comparing Federal payments to budgeted appropriations, the figures show a thirty million dollar deficit from 2208 through 2012.

By multiplying the number of cell days by the average cost per day of $131.38, the deficit is about $26 million.

McH Co Jail Rev v Operating Budget 2008-12 p 7 Summeriil

At the same time, McHenry County’s jail occupancy is about half of its 650 inmate capacity.

As revenues declined, the Sheriff’s Office did not cut expenditures.

Federal bed days went from 126,517 in 2011 to 106,298 in 2012, but the operating budget increased $600,000 from $16.6 to 17.2 million. (See April, 2013, Summerill presentation, page 7.)

Consultant Summerill said last April that a new contract would be awarded to McHenry County “no later than July 31, 2013.” (See Summerill page 15 slide.)

That has not occurred.

One potential reason is that McHenry County already charges more than competitors.

Talk has been that the Sheriff and Summerill think that the per diem payment could be increased from $85 to $100 per day.

With an average cost per day of $131.38 from 2008-2012, however, the extra $15 a day would not bring the operation to a break-even level.

Since the middle of the five-year (2008-2012) for the $131 daily cost figure is 2010 and this is 2014, the loss per day could conceivably be higher than the $46.38 estimate derived from Summerill’s figures.

From the masthead of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

From the masthead of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department.

In any event, assuming the rate increases from $85 to $100 per day, McHenry County taxpayers would still be picking up a big chunk of the cost of housing illegal aliens and Federal prisoners at the County Jail.

While the jail operating costs are declining, because the number of illegal aliens housed in Woodstock is declining, tax dollars requested by the Sheriff’s Office continues to increase about 5% a year.

Questions that policy makers might want to consider are

  • Why is McHenry County continuing with these Federal programs to house illegal aliens and Federal prisoners when the cost of the operation exceeded revenue by $26 million to  $30 million during 2008-2012?
  • Why has the Sheriff allowed this program to continue when it does not generate enough revenue to pay for itself and requires local taxpayers to subsidize the Federal government?
  • Why has the Sheriff’s Office been unable to control costs?
  • On what has the $4 million per year been budgeted for, but not spent on housing Federal detainees and prisoners been spent by the Sheriff?


Multi-Million Dollar Annual Subsidizing of Fed’s Housing of Illegal Aliens & Others at the McHenry County Jail – Part 2 — 50 Comments

  1. Are you really using the entire cost of the jail and netting it off against the revenue portion of the Jail?

    I get the debate is later today so confusing the facts might benefit your guy…but your math doesn’t appear to pass a High School Business class’s first week of accounting lessons.

    So if you take out the revenue portion and just keep the cost associated with the portion of the jail that isn’t optional you do understand there is still real cost looking to be significantly higher than current net costs, right?

    Sadly, the current revenue in the federal portion of the jail would be even higher in the current administration in DC was interested in enforcing immigration law.

    Not sure you Prim guys ought to be celebrating that or planning a long term strategy hoping DC continues to ignore immigration law.

    We do plan on taking DC back at some point in the not so distance future.

  2. I don’t think the Summrerill analysis compares total jail cost to Federal revenue.

    At least there is nothing in it to indicate that.

  3. Meanwhile the trend now is to try to house immigration detainees in more residential type settings as they have not been convicted of any crimes.

    One such facility is reportedly in the works in Will County.

    This would also presumably cost less.

    What then do we do with the extra space?

    This comes on the heals of a new law which no longer requires us to house people overnight who are picked up on traffic offenses just because they don’t have a driver’s license so the overall need for the jail is lessened further.

    We can’t re-purpose the empty space for anything else as the build out is very specific and very expensive so we have a huge white elephant on our hands.

    Overall population in the county may not increase that much due to changing demographic trends and has actually decreased since the census.

    Housing inmates from other counties imposes hardships on their families to visit (also the case with the current detainees who are usually from Chicago).

    What to do?


  4. Mike: The current Fed Administration is allowing in refugees who have ‘small / slight’ terrorist connections, maybe we can use the jail for a ‘small / light’ Guantanamo if Congress can ‘grow a pair’?

    BTW with the Executive Order Dream Act, federal directive to not apprehend relatives of anyone in the military, delayed prosecution of illegal aliens who have not been convicted of a felony, etc. etc. it would appear that only illegal aliens convicted of a felony will be housed in federal jail space.

    In addition I will comment that the cost of interring an illegal alien compared to a legal resident is quite different.

    Most illegal aliens are provided with translation services, they have special visiting rights and other benefits such as special diets which make the cost of housing illegal aliens proportionately higher.

  5. Mr. Walkup. I do not see the built-out jail space as any more of a white elephant than the non-built out jail space prior to the Federal deal. My understanding is that the unfinished 3rd floor was built with the intention of future expansion. Now, we have a finished expansion paid for by the Feds even if unnecessary for county needs.

    In a post 9/11 world, the Feds desperately needed space. The Feds paid for the build-out, not the county. If anything, it is a Fed white elephant, not Mchenry County. If the Feds pull out & we do not need the additional jail space, then shutter the additional 3rd floor jail space like it was before the Fed deal. Then, we have a shuttered finished jail space rather than a shuttered unfinished jail space for future needs. That is a Win for McHenry County.

    The real problem if the Feds pull out is staff reductions. The jail will face significant layoffs and cost reductions with a significantly lower daily jail population.

  6. Cal, the Summerill analysis certainly does seem to compare Federal Revenue to Jail Operating Expense (Total). The caption does not qualify the Jail Operating Expense for Federal Detainees. Checking online, the $17 million 2012 operating budget appears to be the ENTIRE jail operating budget for all inmates, in-county, out-of-county,and federal. Maybe, Mr. Walkup could shed some light on the total annual jail operating budget?

    Rather than just interpreting the Summerill report to fit your anti-Nygren/Zinke narrative, you may want to conduct a fact check prior to continuing any further unsubstantiated and unsupported claims against the Sheriff’s Dept.

  7. Nygren and Zinke should have to pay back every dollar that they took from the poor tax payers of McHenry County…

    Bill Prim for Sheriff is the only solution to rid the cancer out of the Sheriffs Office and restore it back to the citizens of McHenry County

  8. Teacher: You definitely picked the correct handle! What is the difference which tax dollar bucket the “white elephant” is paid from? Our tax dollars fund every penny wasted by bureaucrats and elected officials!!! This includes construction, which in this state, by the way, is paid for based on Prevailing Wages which Jack Franks love to make more and more ‘union’ friendly!!! Your comment: “The Feds paid for the build-out, not the county.” is about as dumb as any I have seen!!

  9. Teacher nailed it.

    The federal government paid for the build out if the third floor.

    That is money we sent to Washington that normally we would never get back.

    In the lean times just after the build out, the inmate program actually financed much of county operations keeping taxes down. Oh his soon we forget.

    Regardless who is or was sheriff, the fact remains the county made money off the program.

    If it is curtailled the third floor will still remain completed and ready for the eventual increase in jail population due to county growth.

    Defineltly NOT a White Elephant.

    It’s there ready for future needs.

    Some correctional officers could be laid off if the bed rental stops, but the county is still way ahead.

    Decifering this is due is much better done by a Sheriff with an Masters Degree in Business Admininistration than one (Prim) that only has a high school diploma.

  10. If Zinke had a doctorate, he could not produce the results the Prim has.

    All of the time Zinke has been on the job all he has managed to do is keeping getting his salary raised for being a “do boy”.

    The morale in the department is in the toilet.

    Tax dollars wasted on top heavy administration.

    Prim has produced excellent results in his career.

  11. All the Nygren/Zinke Regime needs are those Bumper Stickers, We have an Honor Roll Student at the Sheriff’s Department.

    Just like the signs they put on the taxpayers signs on the taxpayer cars.

  12. I love how Prim supporters are just going on the attack of Andy Zinkie instead of analyzing this bias article for what it is. Mr. Skinner shame on you.

  13. The Federal subsidy on the built out was $6.5 million. (See page 3 of Summerill report entitled, “Background on McHenry County Relationship with ICE.”)

    The loss appears to be in the range of $5-6 million per year.

    And, if you call your County Board member, the entire report might end up getting published.

  14. Cal has never, to my knowledge, expressed he is running an unbiased journalistic opus.

    From my observation he is running HIS BLOG.

    The beautiful part of this blog is it brings to light issues in this county to be debated hotly by some very smart and some not so very smart people in the community.

    Cal owes no one anything.

    If you only want to hear your side of whatever issue start your own blog.

    Otherwise stop expecting Cal to write a story how you see it(whichever side you are on) and knuckle up to fight in the comments, in the street and in the government legislative chambers.

    Regardless of whether I agree with Cal I appreciate and honor his contribution to the community and its future through his blog.

  15. Cal. True this is your blog as suggested by priest. But, I do not understand how you continue to perpetuate the myth that the Feds underpaid $5-6 million annually. That is not true.

    By the limited excerpts available in your blog, the Feds accounted for approximately 60% of the jail population while footing approximately 60% of the jail operating costs from 2008-12.

    Until 2012, it appears McHenry County made a slight profit from this arrangement.

    The 2012 drop in federal detainees certainly causes alarm that the Sheriff’s Office & County Board appear to be addressing in current agreement re-negotiations with the Feds.

    The problem is the softening Fed policy shift on crime & illegal immigration resulting in less revenue & federal detainees housed at the county jail.

    Sheriff Nygren seems to be acting correctly asking for higher per diem to offset fixed jail costs associated with federal detainees.

    Many of these fixed costs exist whether Feds use 190% or 75% occupancy.

  16. I have asked County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill to post what Joseph Summerill presented last April.

    As I pointed out when the number of Fed days is multiplied by the $113.38 cost per day calculated by Summerill, the result is $74,589,156.

    When one multiplies the number of Fed days by the reimbursement of $80 per day, the result is $45,418,880. That not exactly the number that Summerill presented, but it is close.

    The difference between $74 million and $45 million seems like a deficit to me.

    I have asked County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill to post what Joseph Summerill presented last April.

    As I pointed out when the number of Fed days is multiplied by the $113.38 cost per day calculated by Summerill, the result is $74,589,156.

    When one multiplies the number of Fed days by the reimbursement of $80 per day, the result is $45,418,880. That not exactly the number that Summerill presented, but it is close.

    The difference between $74 million and $45 million seems like a deficit to me.

    Divide about $30 million by 5 years and that’s how I reached my annual deficit figure.

    You are welcome to disagree.

  17. Not disagreeing with you Cal.

    You are flat-out wrong.

    The $5-6 million annual “deficit” is the county’s annual operating expense that the county must pay to house its own inmate population averaging nearly 200 inmates daily.

    It is not a deficit.

    It is the county’s annual jail budget.

    It in no way repesents a budgetary shortfall or deficit.

    Why on Earth would the Feds have paid $74 million of $78 million to run our jail from 2008 to 2012 with our county only paying $4 million of the total operating budget over that time?

  18. Just got done watching the debate and it was quite interesting. I wanted to share my notes before I forget important details.

    To begin, Mr Prim came out attacking Zinke immediately. Bill came off as rather cold and his initial indictments about Rita as well allegations concerning petitions being circulated were never responded to by Zinke. Zinke took the high road and decided to focus his opening statement on what made him qualified.

    When asked by he was qualified later in the debate, Mr. Prim didn’t point to any qualifications, rather he decided to say he was qualified because he would be able to ask within the department from other officers what needs to be done and then went on a ramble about cost savings saying that there was a 5,000% increase in budgetting at the Sherriff office, which Zinke later pointed out was primarily related to if an officer wants time to take off for his family (i.e. if an officer had a baby and needed time off.)

    There were moments in the debate where the two candidates actually agreed on issues. For example: Both candidates believed that there should not be additional juvenile detention at the sheriff office. As well, they both agreed that social media was a great opportunity to enhance the sheriff’s ability to serve the community. Finally, both candidates agreed that THEY would be better as Sheriff in McHenry County! 😉

    All joking aside, Zinke coldly pointed out that Prim overexaggerated how much money he personally brought into his former department by stating that the 9 million dollars was a multi-department operation and to say Prim brought 9 million all in was an insult to other offices. Prim never responded to this point.

    Mr. Prim attacked Andy for the ICE contract. Zinke responded that it was the responsibility of the County Board to negotiate this contract – which is true as Kevin Craver pointed out on Twitter. Prim asked for additional time and moved the goal posts saying that the Sheriff would still have input in to the decision, effectively backing off of many allegations on this blog that it is the sheriff’s office is fault for the contract.

    Zinke also pointed out that there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the ICE contract stating that the statistic sources Mr. Prim was using are entirely false. Prim never responded to this claim.

    Prim had a great argument when he said that Keith Nygren was not originally from McHenry County. But this was largely a misnomer as Zinke pointed out he had spent time in the community and forged relationships with many of the other departments. Prim, and I quote said, “I have worked with all… well most of the agencies in government [in my career.]” Short on the details, Prim resulted to general brush strokes of “cut spending, eliminate waste, boost morale” as his goals for the department. Andy got into specifics, but to the casual observer, may have come off as a bit confusing because he did say so much.

    Zinke had a great point about the importance of social media in the Sheriff office and being more technologically oriented. During the same question, Prim began on a ramble about how it was important for Volunteers to be part of the sheriff office when he was asked the same question of technology. Zinke asked for more time and said that he would keep to the technology question, rebuttling some of Prims points on the technology question.

    Lasting thoughts:
    Andy Zinke came off a bit robotic at times and spoke a bit too fast for some of the old folks at home. Prim came of rather monotone and was actually chewing gum as the debate began, which came off as rather unprofessional – especially for someone who would be looking over a 36 million county agency. Zinke was very detailed in his responses and proved a very great understanding of the department as it is today. Prim tried to point faults in Zinke even in his closing argument instead of propping himself up, yet, to the casual observer, Prim’s examples may have proved a bit confusing because he never really went on to explain WHAT the Rita Corp situation was or what the deal was with petitioners having complaints filed against them in the Sheriff office.

    Prim’s body language was rather dismissive, condescending and his voice monotone. Zinke, though quick with the tongue was a bit too defensive at times, yet proved an immense understanding of the department compared to Prim. And Prim, despite a large stack of paper next to him that he only referenced the first sheet a total of four times, wrote few notes, and seemed a bit out of place. I would agree with Gary Rabine’s previous analysis that “Prim is no politician.” That said, after this debate, Zinke proved not only his mastery of the McHenry County Sheriff’s office, but also that of public life with his mastery of the stage and having keenly pointed out that Bill Prim has not contacted ANY of the local police chief’s in the area. Overall, it definitely seemed like Zinke won with Prim finishing yards behind.

  19. The debate was not even close.

    Prim was nothing but vague accusations which he seemed to only be repeating without any real knowledge of and no substance around what positives he would bring.

    The only way Zinke would have done better was to have more time.

    Where Prim barely could fill his time with a handful of oft repeated attacks, Zinke was moving fast trying to get out as much real information as possible in the time allotted.

    In short one was excited about the opportunity and could barely get all his positive ideas out in time, the other just came off as that one guy on the block that wants the kids to stop playing in his yard.

  20. Cal it is looking pretty clear both you and Prim are throwing the Summerill pitch for his consulting firm to get some work without either understanding what it is or what the numbers actually represent.

    I get your angle as you are writing a personal blog with opinions…but for Prim to be throwing it out with direct claims without apparently knowing for sure what it is and what the numbers actually represent looks potentially telling of what could be a greater problem of being easily misled.

  21. The report specifically states on page 5 that the “total unreimbursed county cost” is “$3,065,224.”

    That’s on page 5, titled, “Cost Benefit Analysis.”

    I, for one would welcome, the Sheriff’s Department or County Auditor’s doing a similar cost benefit analysis for each of the years starting in 2008.

    Goodness knows, the County Board needs such information to make an informed decision.

    As I have laid out, I think the average deficit for the five-year period from 2008-2012 is in the $5-6 million a year range

    I hope that you have called your four County Board members to ask that the document be posted on the County web site.

  22. Cal it really isn’t a “report” it was part of a sales presentation trying to get work for a consulting company. Consulting companies can’t get work unless they pitch something is wrong. So I guess it is a report in the same way a TV Commercial or an email from a Nigerian prince could be considered a “report”.

    I do think the Board needs to take a look at all the numbers when they make decisions around the 10 year contract ending next year.

    Can you at least clear up what exactly you want the County Board to post on their website in the last few days before the election and how you think it relates to the election?

    A bit confused by what you are trying to get at here. Are you trying to say Zinke made the call on this contract 9 years ago? Because that kind of sounds silly on it’s face regardless how off the data you are trying to use is.

  23. “Fair Play’ You have some twisted ideas about your version of the debate. Your opinion is laughable. You sound like an over zealous sports announcer giving play by play of events and calling it as you see it and not how it really is.. Zinke did not address the issues, you know it and all of McHenry County knows it.. He betrayed the public trust again.. Where is the Rita Corporation report, where is proof that he has a College degree? How does he explain his behavior during his own campaign? He doesn’t. Time to take Sheriffs office back and put into the hands of people who can get the job done according the the needs of the people.

  24. Duncan Mchenry is now a Degree-er! (Birther, but related to Zinke’s credentials)

    I can’t believe this idiot actually believes Zinke is not more educated than Prim!

    Oh wait, I can! Because we are talking about Duncan McHenry!

    I actually appreciate Duncan calling my analysis a play by play report!

    That would mean it is detailed. Thanks Duncan. Love ya babe! 😉

    And you said Zinke didn’t address the issues?

    Well, from where I was sitting last night, Zinke stayed on topic pertaining to the questions asked more than Mr. Prim!

    And he did address the ‘bogus’ claims of many people trying to literally slander his name!

  25. “Fair Play” The play by play report is based on your own delusional reality, it is not based on reality. We still have no proof of his degree.

    Everyone wants to see the diploma.

    No one is trying to slander his name.

    His description of bogus is not accurate.

    That statement is misleading.

    He never said what exactly is bogus.

    Ok, Andy, what is “Bogus?”

    Please describe in your own words.

    Just remember, everything you disclose can be used against you in a court of law.

    The people of McHenry County have a right to the information and that includes the report on Rita Corporation for which Zinke and Nygren do not want the public to have, or it would have been released.

    That strongly suggests that you are keeping the information from the public because you have something to hide..

    I believe they are hiding incriminating information. Hmmm on who?

    They know the answer to that question and we all have the right to know what it is..


  27. You don’t even live here in McHenry County Duncan, your request is rejected.

  28. So Duncan, first Fukoku, then Priest, and now me; we have all set you in your place in the last month.

    What is Einsteins definition of insanity?

  29. “Fair Play” My definition of insanity is you “Fair Play”

    You have proven that on this blog..

    Now go back to the “Regime” where you belong and you might want to help Andy dig himself out of that big fat hole he has dug for himself.

    Whatsa matter the local 150 boys couldn’t help him? No surprise..


  30. Yes, I’m insane.

    No pardon me while I go to the cuckoo’s nest….

    By the way, Duncan where is it again?

    I’m sure the bed is still warm from your last visit.

  31. “fair Play” Now that’s a step in the right direction, admitting you are insane.. Yep!

    All of McHenry County would like to see Andy Zinkes diploma???????????????

    No one has ever seen a copy…

    Diploma and Transcripts have not been provided to anyone….

  32. Prim lost so bad in the debate Duncan is trying to turn everyone’s attentions away from it. What a laugh.

  33. “fair Play” you are really laughable…

    Can’t wait for the depositions to begin.

    Just remember, you do have the right to remain silent anything you do or say could be used against you in a court of law…

    Greg Pyle had the right to remain silent, but he talked…. Hmmm

    What could he possibly be talking about?

    Just asking….

  34. All this talk is cheap, Duncan.

    Want to meet for coffee next week?

    I’m being completely serious.

  35. There is a bar by that name on Route 14 in Cary across from the train station.

  36. Speaking about the debate last night, that debate is unforgettable as I am still in shock how Bill Prim was wearing those 100 year old unpolished cowboy boots and looked like he just came off the range from riding his jackass.

    What was he thinking??????

    I known he is uneducated, but dear God man, at least he could have tried to look professional.

    Than came the torpedoes, one after another from Undersheriff Andrew Zinke that sunk Bill Prim as Bill Prim drowned during the rest of the debate.

    It was an unforgettable debate that I am sure you Prim supports are trying to forget.

  37. “Fukoku”

    He did look professional.

    You are so busy seeing people blown out of their shoes, you can’t even determine when someone is dressed appropriately….

    Bill Prim was the class act in the debate.

    Andy didn’t even address the serious issues.

    He owes the People of McHenry County an explanation.

    He bragged about a degree, there is no diploma no transcript..

    Andys face turned red at one point during the debate… Gosh, don’t you all just wonder what he was worried about?

    Thanks Cal, but I would rather have a donut.

  38. The Cowboy boots were BAD! Because the boots were old & ratty.

    No problem with cowboy boots, but wear good dress pair of boots, preferably dark in color to complement your dark business suit.

    And, more importantly, did I understand Mr. Zinke correctly on the video….

    .Summerlin’s report as cited by Mr. Primm & Cal is completely bogus.

    Merely prepared as a prop for a sales presentation made by Summerlin?

    Cal, is that why you didn’t scan & post the entirety of the Summerlin “report” in its entirety as you do every other document favorable to your narratives?

    Did you know that your copy was a bogus sales prop when posting self-serving excerpts.

    Where you trying to manufacture crisis & scandal through subterfuge when directing pisters to call county board members demanding an inquiry?

    Tsk, tsk Cal. Detention for you.

  39. The source of the Summerill data was the Sheriff’s Department.

    I have sent a Freedom of Information request for the images and shall post them.

  40. “Teacher 155”

    So what your saying is, boots determine if Prim is capable of running the McHenry County Sheriffs office.

    That is a ridiculous assumption.

    You should know better than that.

    Frankly, that only shows how superficial and shallow you are…

    Personally, I would much rather have a Sheriff that wears boots, than put up with the Antics of Andy Zinke..

    The Nygren and Zinke Circus will never end if Zinke is voted into office.

    What needs to be recognized is that Andy did not address his own reprehensible behavior or take the time to explain the Rita Corporation fiasco, that famous middle finger and more.

    Andy Zinke, had a lot to say, but what we need to realize is what he didn’t say during the debate.

    He owes an explanation to the people of McHenry County, about the things he has said, and his bad behavior during is campaign.

    If Andy is voted into office, his actions are just a preview of things to come..

    Andy should be embarrassed and ashamed of himself because of how he has conducted himself…

    Instead, he accepts no responsibility and has justified everything he has done.

    He acts more like a child than a Man that is capable of running the Sheriffs Department..

    And, you are more worried about boots. If you really cared about the real issues, you wouldn’t be using what boots someone wears to validate your opinions.

    Tsk, tsk

    Detention for you.

  41. Duncan, Short answer is No.

    I did not say that the boots determine if Mr. Primm is capable of running the Sheriff’s Department.

    I said his cowboy boots looked BAD.

    His old, worn out cowboy boots looked terrible with his nice business suit.

    Either a prop or poor taste.

    But certainly not a reflection upon his capability to run the Sheriff’s Department.

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