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RBC I The Rio Blanco County Jail is still a busy place, but the number of persons incarcerated at the facility has seen a steady decrease since 2009, which was, by far, the highest incarceration year in the last six.
The 2012 Annual Report by the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office states that there were 499 persons incarcerated in the jail during 2012, an increase of 33 over 2011, which had the lowest number of incarcerations in the past six years. These numbers reflect all law enforcement agencies in the area, not just those from Rio Blanco County or the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office.
There were 466 prisoners booked in 2011, down from 594 in 2010, and drastically lower than the 1,020 booked in 2009, the highest during the six-year period. The years 2007 and 2008 logged 910 and 974 bookings, respectively, well above the numbers reported in 2011 and 2012.
The average daily inmate population for the 18-bed facility (15 beds for men and three beds for women) was 13.22 in 2012 and 15.2 in 2011. The highest inmate population average occurred in 2008, when there was an average of 22.10 inmates daily.
The number of daily male inmates was lowest in 2012 with an average of 11.27 inmates; the highest average population occurred in 2008 with an average of 20.42 inmates.
The average daily population of female inmates was 1.95 in 2012 (and 2007), compared to 1.61 in 2011. The peak for female inmates came in 2009, when there was an average of 2.10 inmates.
There was a high of 21 inmates in the 18-bed facility during 2012, compared to 20 in 2011 and 19 in 2010. Those figures compare to a 25-inmate peak in 2009, 29 inmates in 2008 and 27 inmates in 2007.
The same high numbers for 2007 through 2009 are reflected in the number of meals prepared and served. The report states that 13,102 meals were served in 2012 with 15,441 served in 2011 and 12,783 in 2010.
But the number of meals served to inmates was much higher prior to 2010, with 17,228 served in 2007, 15,344 served in 2008 and 16,007 served in 2009.
The cost of the average meals has risen slowly and almost steadily since 2007, when the total cost per meal averaged $1.37. The high average cost of $1.67 came in 2012, following the average costs of $1.39 in 2008, $1.49 in 2009, a drop to $1.42 in 2010 and a rebound to $1.56 in 2011.
The jail also served as a holding cell at times for outside prisoner boarding due to work release, state Department of Corrections inmates and other jurisdictions.
Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Mike Joos explained that when a jail holds inmates for another law enforcement agency, the county bills that agency for the cost of housing the inmate temporarily.
In 2012, Rio Blanco billed outside agencies for $965.28, a huge drop from $9,180 in 2010, and the high of $25,506.68 in 2008. In 2007, the amount billed was $16,013, down to $13,890 in 2009 and another sharp drop to $1,565 in 2011.
Also on occasion, Joos explained, Rio Blanco County has to pay other counties to house inmates from this county. With the exception of 2009, which saw Rio Blanco pay out $16,250 to outside agencies, the in-county expense for out-of-county inmates remained low during the six-year period.
In 2007, Rio Blanco County paid nothing to house prisoners out of the county. In 2008 and 2010, the county also paid nothing. In 2011, the county paid $1,880 and it paid $1,120 in 2012.