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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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8/29/2013 2:26:00 PM
County could lose millions through loss of jail bed rentals
Sheriff Scott Mascher: “It really was a punch in the gut to all of a sudden get an email saying we’re done.”
Sheriff Scott Mascher: “It really was a punch in the gut to all of a sudden get an email saying we’re done.”
By Tamara Sone
Contributing Reporter

YAVAPAI COUNTY -- The Yavapai County Sheriff's Department may be tightening their budget belts if the U.S. Marshal's Office moves forward with terminating its bed rental program with the county.

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher learned of the Marshal's decision to end the program last week through an email.

"It was a short email that said they are contracting with an outside source and that they would be ceasing the service that we provide here for them," Mascher said.

The program allowed the Marshal's Office to house non-violent, minor crime classification offenders at the jail, YCSO Media and Crime Prevention coordinator Dwight D'Evelyn said. The types of crimes the inmates committed could vary, including illegal immigrant violations.

The amount of money charged to the Marshal's for housing services was based on the number of "heads in beds," D'Evelyn said.

This past Thursday, Mascher met with officials from the Marshal's Office to discuss how the program's loss would impact Yavapai County.

The county relies on the revenue source to help operate and maintain the Prescott jail, Mascher said. Since 2008, the program has brought between $2 and $3 million of revenue into the county each year.

The money also allowed the department to purchase new technology equipment that enables them to offer offsite booking services to Prescott-area agencies, Mascher said.

While Mascher said he did not discuss the specific details of the Marshal's decision to pull the program from Yavapai County, he suspects it is a combination of money and location.

With more than 5,400 beds, the new facility would allow the Marshal's office to house all of the inmates in one location, making it more operationally efficient, Mascher said.

"My negotiations with them are not through, but it doesn't look real positive," Mascher said. "It really was a punch in the gut to all of a sudden get an email saying we're done."

Mascher is turning to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors for help in countering the lost revenue.

In budget year 2000-01, the county established a Jail District through an associated sales tax, county Administrator Phil Bourdon said. Sales tax collected helps pay for the operation and maintenance of the jail.

"With the bed rentals that have been going on, we (the county) finally were not paying out of the general fund any additional amount for maintenance," Bourdon said. "So, we are going to have to figure out if we need to fund additional money out of the general fund in the future."

While the Marshal's announcement was a surprise, Supervisor Craig Brown said he was taking the announcement "with a grain of salt," since the board and sheriff's department knew that the program could end at any time.

"The bed rental money was primarily being used for staffing for those extra 100 beds we were allowing for the Marshal Service," Brown said. "Any other savings we were getting we were planning on using on any new jail facility we looked at in the future."

"It was kind of like a savings account that is now gone," he added.

Supervisor Jack Smith said the loss of the bed rental program is "unfortunate" for the county.

"That was a pretty good revenue source to eliminate, or at least draw down, some of the tax burden on the citizens," Smith said. "My biggest thing is that we need to find some other way to generate that revenue without having to go to the taxpayers."

Because the program could end at any time, the board did not factor that revenue into any of its budgetary planning, Supervisor Rowle Simmons said. However, that doesn't diminish the loss of the program.

The exact impact to the county has yet to be determined, Simmons said.

"Whatever it is, it's going to be a lot of money," he said.

Mascher is scheduled to speak to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors at the Sept. 3 meeting about how to move forward, which may include the use of local county money to help support the jail.

"We've wrapped up this year's budget; now let's work together this upcoming year and start problem solving short term and long term plans for the jail district," Mascher said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Janer

I wonder if the trend of never releasing anyone without bond isn't a tactic by the prosecutor to weed out the truly poor who can't possibly fight back in any reasonable way.

It isn't easy to linger in jail as your case winds through the court. The prosecutor makes a less than fair offer and then lets the prisoner sit in his cell, depressed from the isolation, and consider whether he wants to turn down the offer and wait another few months to either go to trial or wait for a fairer offer. Talk about negotiating from a strong position! My guess is that the prosecutors conviction and incarceration rates go up when the accused is locked away in isolation and treated in a less than humane way.

Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Article comment by: Carl Nye

Ah, asset forfeiture. This must be where the county gets the golf clubs and video games they are auctioning off soon. Charge you with some crime - seize your assets - sell your stuff for county profit - then drop the charges. Quite a racket. I can (almost) understand how they might seize your car if it's being used to transport drugs, for example. There's sort of a criminal connection there. But what's the criminal connection to golf clubs???

Posted: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Article comment by: @ Carl Nye

Don't hold your breath. The county will probably just step-up asset forfeiture.

Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Article comment by: Carl Nye

I'm waiting to see the Yavapai Sheriffs holding a bake sale to buy bullets.

Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

They fight fires in California and are fighting
the big one right now.$1 an hour but they love
Payin back in a big way.Of course they don't
mention those guys.

Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl


Don't you read?


Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Article comment by: gary chamberlain

Is there a way?

I have seen prisoners and probationers cleaning highways nation-wide.

I always stop and thank all these folks that I'm proud of them for their efforts and to stay out of trouble.

I always tell these folks they should also be proud of what their doing and they always give me a very large grin and a thank-you for stopping message.

Why can't we let some of these folks pay their debt by participating in the "America the Beautiful" events and earn credits to pay off their debt to society?

Gary Chamberlain
Cornville AZ-USA


“America the Beautiful & BagReadyJobs”

Will we honor our Armed Forces, veterans and communities by participating in the “America the Beautiful and BagReadyJobs” effort?

This is how “America the Beautiful & BagReadyJobs” will be used as a learning and earning opportunity for our nation’s youth groups. “BagReadyJobs” is funded by community businesses and residents.

Youth groups will learn how to build their marketing, sales, service performance a service and billing service skills. They will also be paid for their work. Youth groups will negotiate fees with their local businesses and residents for cleaning up the litter on the highway and filling 33 gallon bags. The youth groups will work with their local Adopt-a-Highway groups and assist them in their efforts to restore our country to “America the Beautiful”.

The businesses and residents that pledge the youth groups will negotiate between $7 and 10 for every 33 gallon bag of trash they fill to the brim.

The nation’s official Adopt-A-Highway group leaders will document the participation of the youth groups and the number of bags they filled. The youth groups will provide a copy of the Adopt-A-Highway group leader’s confirmation to their funding sponsors.

In addition to displaying the trash-filled bags on the highway for 4 days as part of creating an awareness and education opportunity, the youth groups are required to write a 500 word essay that addresses the following questions. They must provide a copy of their essays to those funding their activities plus their local news media organizations.

The essay questions are:
1) What did you learn?
2) What solutions might reverse the occurrence of highway litter and recycling efforts?
3) How does highway litter impact the economy of your community?
4) In addition to the negative economic effects, how does highway litter reflect on the residents?
5) What will you do to do to make a difference?

Those providing funding will pay the youth groups for their services once all these obligations have been fulfilled.

“America the Beautiful and BagReadyJobs” litter events are being promoted nationwide on the third Saturday of February, May, August and November. Many Adopt-A-Highway groups select random dates for their cleanup activities. Our goal is to connect the Adopt-A-Highway groups needing help and youth groups wanting to help through local media organizations. Folksville USA would love to get these stories so that we may broadcast them far and wide.

“America the Beautiful and BagReadyJobs” is the perfect opportunity for city and town leaders to challenge their community businesses and residents to support local youth groups that want to earn their funding. These young adults are our future role models and leaders. Recycling activities and getting some exercise are additional benefits that can be realized through this effort.

Gary Chamberlain
Folksville USA
PO Box 1138
Cornville, AZ 86325

To anyone publishing or sharing this story, you will make a friend of those businesses and individuals who are repeatedly asked to make donations to youth groups or organizations. Since 2012, I have traveled more than 14,000 miles throughout the United States and businesses plus individuals have thanked me for providing this opportunity that results in a win-win outcome for their community. The contact information for the 50 state Adopt-A-Highway Coordinators is available by contacting Folksville USA at or address mentioned above.

If you publish this story let us know so we may share it. References and photographs are available upon request.

Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Article comment by: This News Items Generates Questions...

"...if the U.S. Marshal's Office moves forward
with terminating its bed rental program with
the county..."

Question (1):
is the opening statement of the news item...but
the rest of the news item assumes/presumes
the cut has happen. (1) Which is it?

(2): Does the US Marshal's Office operate via
federal contracting laws, meaning that, do they
contract with lowest bidder...and was the county
asked/informed of the bidding process and/or
did the county submitted a bid.

(3): Arizona has had a rough relation with the
Obama administration over the last 5 years.
Or, Obama may be being forced by fed budget
limitations to cut cost/spending Is the budget
saga the reason for the possible lost of "bed"

Thanks and Good Luck,
Frank Henry

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013
Article comment by: The USA jails more people than any other country In the World!

So why are people being jailed for "no violent, minor crimes?" Because they are too poor to make bond, and sit in an overcrowded jail.

With these beds opening up, there no longer is a need for a new jail in Prescott. And with the Cottonwood's crime rate down, then they will be even less need for beds.

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013
Article comment by: Keep Criminals Behind Bars

I would rather keep the criminals behind bars then on the streets. ROR is not good enough anymore.

These people that are repeat offenders and why should they be released back into our communities to commit and offend

Let's see when they offend you or your loved ones if you feel the same way.

I dislike that our police officers are always targeted as the bad guys!!

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

I have noticed on the court blog posted every week that almost no-one is released on their 'Own Recognizance' anymore. Why is that? Because the jails need to justify their high cost to the taxpayers? Because the jails have to justify their future?

Seems like society has to pay and pay so that law enforcement can continue to regale us with their fear-mongering propaganda.

Maybe instead of continuing to erode our 'Bill of Rights' and stomping on the sections of our society that can least fight back with this fake 'War on Drugs' that only serves to disenfranchise more and more citizens, we should take this as an omen that we need to reform this 'us against them' mentality that our paramilitary law enforcement has foisted upon us.

The first time we tried 'Prohibition' it only took us 12 yrs to see the folly. We are now at 40+ yrs with this war on our citizens that is disguised as the 'War on Drugs'.

We have corrupted countless governments in the western hemisphere and created international criminal organizations that have wreaked violence and even more corruption just so we can continue to justify financing an ever-growing police state in our own country. Enough is Enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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