Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail Works to Keep Costs Down
Costs are down at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Factors like housing fewer inmates last year saved it $200,000.
Two years ago, the jail housed about 550 inmates. The number is currently around 400. Now, jail staff is hoping to cut down on food and medical costs.
Jim Hartman, the director of food services for Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, says costs can be cut down dramatically through buying up surplus or overruns from food companies selling to correctional facilities.
"They deal only with a correctional environment so the prices are much better than in the open market,” said Hartman.
"We'll shop for other vendors. There are other ways we can get the same quality, the same quantity by maybe going to another vendor,” said Lt. Col. Martin Kumer, interim superintendent at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Jail staffers aren't just shopping around for food deals, but medical deals as well.
"If we can get it cheaper at Walmart, a certain over-the-counter medication, we will go to Walmart to pick up that medication opposed to buying it through a pharmacy vendor,” said Kumer.
Kumer says jail employees aren't being laid off, but as they retire or quit, some of their positions are not refilled.
This year, one inmate unit, which typically houses dozens of people, is empty, saving the jail about $250,000.
"That housing unit is staffed 24 hours a day. Well now that that housing unit is gone we're not using it anymore. That's four officer positions that if somebody retires or resigns I don't have to refill that position,” said Kumer.
Kumer says the decrease in jail costs doesn't necessarily reflect an increase or decrease in crime numbers, but he says last year the number of people arrested in Albemarle County and brought to the jail was down.
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