Court Watch

County Hikes Jailing Fee for City

Milwaukee, suburbs face big hikes for municipal offenders jailed.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - May 9th, 2017 11:43 am
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American Cash by Psychonaught. Photo of money

American Cash by Psychonaught. Photo of money

Milwaukee County will increase the amount it charges suburbs to incarcerate municipal ordinance violators at the House of Correction by 49 percent and the amount it charges the City of Milwaukee to house its municipal violators at the County Jail by 61 percent, county documents show.

The increases will take effect June 1.

The daily boarding rate charged by the House will rise from $25.40 to $37.75, an increase of $12.35; the jail rate will increase from $25.40 to $40.77, up $15.37.

The House will also eliminate the $35 per commitment fee it charges for municipal offenders. A commitment is essentially an incarceration order for unpaid fines.

“The majority of the daily rate covers the actual cost of of medical services and direct inmate supervision of by Corrections Officers,” Steven R. Kreklow, director of the county Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget said in a memo. “Other components of the daily rate include the cost of food, laundry and payment processing.”

The charges have not been adjusted since 2007, Kreklow said.

Last year, the jail had 2,483 inmate days served while the House of Correction had 15,441 inmate days served on municipal commitments, Kreklow said.

Suburban commitments generally are served at the House; City of Milwaukee commitments generally are served at the jail, although overflow from the jail is sent to the House.

The Wisconsin Justice Initiative urged the county to raise its rates both to more fully recover its costs and to discourage municipalities from overusing the two detention facilities to incarcerate municipal ordinance violators who do not pay their fines in a timely fashion. County officials have said they are allowed to increase rates only to cover direct costs of housing the inmates.

Suburbs vary widely in their incarceration of municipal violators. In 2016, for example, West Allis incarcerated municipal offenders for an equivalent of more than 18 inmate years, while Shorewood did not incarcerate anyone at all because of non-payment of fines, House of Correction billing records show.

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.”

Categories: Court Watch

2 thoughts on “Court Watch: County Hikes Jailing Fee for City”

  1. Jason says:

    That’s a picture of the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (a state prison), not the County Jail.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Jason You’re are correct. I’ve fixed it (those two ugly buildings crossed me up!).

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