Maricopa County is budgeting $4.2 million in the FY 2018 budget to cover revenue lost from the City of Mesa’s decision to use a private company to transport and house inmates suspected of misdemeanor offenses. That amount was publicly revealed and approved when the Board of Supervisors adopted its final FY 2018 budget.
“This hurts. There’s no doubt about it. But Mesa had every right to look at the market and forge their own path,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Denny Barney, District 1, “On our end, we’ll work to ensure we are making our booking and housing process as efficient as possible so we can provide a fair deal to every other Valley city and town choosing to house inmates with us.”
Until now, Mesa paid Maricopa County to house those misdemeanor offenders. As the second-largest user of Maricopa County’s 4th Avenue Jail, Mesa’s inmates represented less than nine-percent of all bookings.
“We think four million dollars will cover the loss of revenue,” said Board Chairman Denny Barney, District 1, “But we’ll keep an eye on it, and if we need to adjust the number, we will.”
Mesa is the first Arizona city to have a private jail contract. Its felony offenders will still be housed with Maricopa County.
MCSO’s contract with Mesa ended on June 1 but the city is still booking misdemeanor offenders in MCSO facilities. Mesa has not informed the county when it will begin transitioning to the private jail.