Jail takes in Pike County inmates

Jail takes in Pike County inmates
By: 
Dave Faries
Editor

Staffing shortages at the Pike County Jail forced the sheriff to temporarily shut the facility and transfer 26 prisoners to Audrain County’s custody.

“It’s pretty common for sheriffs to house prisoners in another jail,” said Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller, noting that Missouri statutes allow for it.

The transfer took place on Nov. 30 and is for an indefinite period. Oller believes they will remain in the Audrain County jail until the end of the year, but the stay could be extended into early January.

Pike County Sheriff Stephen Korte said there were not enough people available to safely operate the facility. The office is budgeted for 12 staff members, but currently only seven are available. He added that in 1996, when he started, three people ran the kitchen.
“Now there is just one, who prepares two meals a day, five days a week and handles all ordering and manages the menu.”

Deputies and jail staff fill in for the weekend.

According to Oller, most jails in the state suffer through constant staffing shortages. They are typically down 20 percent at any point during the year.

“We know that we can operate at 20 percent,” he explained, adding that a 30 to 35 percent deficit becomes a problem. “Pike County probably has 20 staff total. We’re an agency of 50. We have a luxury that other small departments don’t have.”

Counties often cope with shortages by using deputies to fill the gap, paying overtime for the duty. But the numbers currently don’t add up for Pike County, which has one vacancy and three deputies out of action from a force of 10.

It costs Pike County $60 a day to detain a prisoner. Korte also cited a budget shortfall. The Audrain County jail can support up to 150 prisoners.

Korte issued a statement thanking Oller and Audrain County for the assistance.

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