Wor. County does not want custody of some inmates

(March 29, 2013) Worcester County officials will continue to accept all inmates delivered to the jail, space permitting, but it is no longer accepting custody of all of them.

“We have no legal authority to hold them,” County Attorney Sonny Bloxom told the Worcester County Commissioners on March 19.

Bloxom suggested the commissioners approve a memorandum of understanding with authorized municipal officials that states that the county jail will accept inmates arrested on an out-of-county or out-of-state warrant for temporary housing, but the inmate will continue to be in the custody of the arresting agency.

Sometimes, Bloxom said, an officer with the Ocean City Police Department might arrest someone on an out-of-state warrant after doing a computer check on the individual. The officer would then take the person to the Public Safety Building for processing and then to the county jail in Snow Hill.

“Ocean City is not set up to hold them,” Bloxom said.

The person would remain at the county jail until picked up by an officer of the police department that obtained the warrant.

If an inmate in the county’s custody requires medical attention, the county is financially responsible for it. If, however, that inmate is in the county jail, but in the custody of the arresting agency, that arresting agency would have the responsibility of the medical care.

The memorandum of understanding was modeled after an existing state law that permits Maryland State Police to drop off an inmate at a county jail, but that agency would be responsible for that inmate.

Bloxom said the cost of housing an inmate on a temporary basis is minimal. The jail provides good food for very little cost per inmate. Bloxom estimated the food cost at $2 or $3 per day.

“It’s very cheap for us to keep someone there a couple of days,” he said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the memorandum of understanding.


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