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Jails get prisoner contracts

Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials on Tuesday announced an agreement has been reached for Bayfield County to house state inmates, and an existing contract with Douglas County has been extended.

The deal will offer substantial property tax relief to residents of the counties, said State Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar).

He made his remarks to Superior Days delegates following the announcement by Corrections Department officials. Corrections will continue to place approximately 55 prisoners in the Douglas County facility while adding approximately 10 prisoners in the Bayfield County Jail this spring.

Bayfield County will become the 16th County to provide excess jail space for state inmates. The state contracts for approximately 600 inmates in the other county facilities.

In 2005 Jauch encouraged corrections officials to include Douglas County on a list of jails providing space for state inmates. In March 2007, the county recorded $1 million from the contract.

"This continuing cooperative effort releases some of the pressure on overcrowded state prisons, as well as providing meaningful economic help to county governments," Jauch said. "The state needs the secure beds and these counties have excess jail capacity so it is a good fit for both and a far more preferable option than the previous policy of contracting for hundreds of inmates in out of state prisons."

The state contracts provide for $51 per day and in 2008 Douglas County should receive approximately $947,000. Bayfield County should receive between $123,000 and $185,000 for the year.