At nine months on the job, Sheriff Bill Prim is asking McHenry County Board permission for a six months longer to decide on whether to keep housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees in the McHenry County Jail.
He gained approval from the Law and Justice Committee this morning after his presentation.
After the meeting I asked, “So, the marginal revenue is higher than the marginal cost in your opinion?”
“Yes,” was his answer.
“We’ve seen a continuous uptick since February.”
He projects “just under $5.7 million revenue” for the year.
“$5 million net,” he explained in answer to a question from County Board member Mike Walkup.
Prim told how there were 172 Correctional Officers in 2014.
Now there are 145.
Prim said the jail was “significantly overstaffed.”
The difference is reflected in retirements.
He stated that 145 Correctional Offices were “rock bottom to keep the program going.
“138 without the Federal [detainees and prisoners];”
Other cost savings have come from lower food prices, less overtime and a new timekeeping system.
Prim said he was seeking information that would provide “clear direction that we want to continue in the program.
“Unless we thought there was a benefit to the County, we would end the program,” he said.
Committee Chairwoman Sue Draffkorn said, “Time wise I don’t see a problem with six months.”
“We sat here many years and didn’t get the numbers we wanted,” Ken Koehler said.
“Now we have a new set of eyes…The bottom line is this is a crap shoot,” he continued, pointing to the uncertain Barack Obama policy on whether to allow criminal “illegals to stay on the street.”
Prim told the committee that the books were open.
He attributed the “uptick” in February with the Department’s having worked something out with making McHenry County a launching point to O’Hare Airport.
“I know they like our facility.”
ICE pays $95 a day.
The U.S. Marshals are not sending prisoners, Prim said.
“We like the Marahal’s because we can integrate them into our own population.