Inmate costs down, confrontations increaseWarden Mumford reports to commissioners despite savings, expenses may rise
(March 31, 2017) Worcester County Jail Warden Garry Mumford told the county commissioners this week that even though costs for food and medical care for inmates were down, use-of-force interventions along with an increased number of addicts or mentally ill prisoners could end up costing the county more money.
During his detailed budget hearing earlier this week, Mumford said about 35 percent of inmates have addiction or mental health issues, and may have neglected their care before becoming incarcerated. In those situations, he explained, the person must be brought up to an acceptable standard, which could end up costing the county money.
However, use of in-house medical facilities had the jail lower this year’s budget request by almost a third to $55,000. Last year, $85,000 was budgeted.
Beyond medical care, Mumford said these inmates tended to be unruly.
“Use-of-force incidents have doubled,” he said.
If an inmate refuses to do something, Mumford said, the jail must account for that behavior.
“It can be more dangerous, more violent [because they are not] not respecting authority,” he said.
Maintaining the 35-year-old facility has also become troubling. Mumford appeared before the commissioners last week to request repairs for two air handlers and since that time another had failed, he said.
Mumford had requested a $10 million capital project to tackle the entire HVAC system at once, but has since distilled his request down to $425,000 in order to do the work one section at a time.
Mumford said he wants to start replacing the heating and cooling in the jail’s kitchen.
“In the summertime. the heat can be unbearable,” he said.
The kitchen is staffed by two professional cooks and between 15-20 inmates, Mumford said. That staff might have either more or less work to do next year, as Mumford trimmed $25,000 from the jail’s food budget, after coming in below his allotment for the last two years.
Mumford also requested a new vehicle for himself, and a van to transport inmates.