Jail reports fewer inmates

Pretrial program cuts cost, Spruell says

The number of inmates at the Montezuma County jail has decreased about 15 percent, but it’s not due to a reduction in crime.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell announced on his Facebook page Thursday that the daily average of inmates at the jail decreased about 15 percent from 2012 to 2013. He said the decline was due to a pretrial services program that his office launched.

“This program monitors people out on bond, allowing persons who have not been found guilty or innocent, to remain out of jail until their case is concluded by the courts,” Spruell posted.

According to Spruell, 1,945 inmates were incarcerated at the jail in 2011. The daily average capacity was 99. In 2012, the jail housed 2,044 inmates with a daily average of 101. Last year, 1,970 inmates were booked into the jail with a daily average of 85.

To avoid overcrowding of the 104-bed facility, Spruell said he explored several avenues, and the pretrial services program was the best solution.

“The Sheriff’s Office runs the pretrial division by monitoring all pretrial clients,” Spruell posted. “The monitoring can include ankle bracelets, daily drug tests, call-ins every day, or once a week.”

Only nonviolent offenders are reportedly eligible to participate in the program.

Officials said it costs $54 a day to house an inmate. Those under pretrial supervision are required to pay for the service at a cost of $50 per month.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com