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Sheriff Phil Miller’s plan to fill new jail with federal prisoners will cost taxpayers

Sheriff Millers Rent-A-Bed plan will cost taxpayers

Rent-A-Bed Plan

The building of the new Douglas County jail was controversial. The sales tax referendum passed by only 32 votes. County voters were divided on the issue. What is even more controversial is what the county plans to do with several hundred empty beds. Some have claim the jail was over built and cost to much for the needs of Douglas County, a population of about 125,000.

A video recording from April 2007 shows Sheriff Phil Miller at a SPLOST town hall meeting where public officials were discussing the plans for a new jail. The plan being proposed was to build a $100 million-plus jail with 1500 beds which could be expanded to 3000 beds or more, according to county officials. Miller was asked why Douglas County needed such a large jail facility.

VIEW VIDEO

Phil Miller claimed the plan calls for 1500 beds and offered his own plan to deal with more than 700 empty beds the new facility will have. Miller wants to rent bed space to house state and federal criminals to “offset the cost of jail operations.”  

The current jail has averaged about 750 inmates over the past few years. In September 2012 the jail population has reportedly dropped from over 800 inmates to 681. The county has housed more than 200 state prisoners, at taxpayers’ expense, when the state and other counties had room to accommodate these prisoners. According to open records request, Sheriff Miller never asked or demanded the state to remove these prisoners and passed the cost on to Douglas County taxpayers. Seventy two percent (72%) of Douglas County inmates are awaiting trial. Douglas taxpayers are responsible for 100% of the cost of these inmates including medical costs.

Derrick Broughton, candidate for sheriff of Douglas County said Miller’s plan to pack the jail with non-county inmates will end up costing Douglas County property owners more in property taxes due to the need to increase staff, medical and other related costs not covered by the reimbursements. The reimbursement costs may only cover one half (1/2) of the actual cost to house an inmate depending on the medical and special needs of the inmate.

Q: Who will cover the cost of an additional 700 prisoners in Douglas County Jail?

A: Douglas County Taxpayers – Property owners!

Derrick Broughton said the future of Douglas County should not be higher crime rates or renting bed space out to state or federal criminals at taxpayers’ expense.

“As sheriff I will work to lower the crime rate in Douglas County. Taxpayers are burdened enough. My goal is to reduce crime and the jail population not to continue to increase it. At a time when state officials are proposing alternatives that will reduce the prison/jail population, Douglas County is headed in the wrong direction. Renting out empty beds is not the solution and does nothing to reduce crime in Douglas County”, Broughton said.

For more information on the Campaign to Elect Derrick Broughton Sheriff visit www.Broughton2010.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Phil Miller November 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Listen closely to the video. I was responding to a question from the audience. There are no present plans to house any Federal prisoners at the new facility. It is an option that needs to be discussed. There is no doubt that doing so would offset the cost of the jail. It is something that would first have to be discussed with the community and by the Board of Commissioners. It is much easier on the Sheriff not to have to deal with renting space to other agencies but I work for you and I am open to your ideas. This is just another attempt by Mr. Broughton to shift the fact that he is not qualified, that in 20 years he has never been promoted to anything. That he has shown no leadership where he works. When asked by Mr, Larry Watson and the forum on Tuesday, what was his qualifications were, he responded saying he had paid his money to run. I have run this and all campaigns with dignity. I have Mr, Broughton's personnel file from Fulton County Sheriff's Office and I have his training records from POST council. I hope I am man enough just to stick with the issues. I would encourage Mr. Broughton and his committee to do the same.
James Bell November 02, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Mr. Miller, If Mr. Broughton’s records are public why not release them? Broughton works for the largest sheriff’s department in Georgia. I’m sure it is more difficult to advance there than at a smaller department like DCSO. 20 year at the same agency seems impressive to me. Broughton's website list his experience and qualifications. DCSO has a high turn over rate, so I’ve been told. The two of you should have hosted a debate and talked these issues out. Both of you seem to be popular in your own right. I think this election will come down to voter turn out. Good luck.
donna November 06, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I stand behind our sheriff he has not let us down so far, i belive he is a strong man and a good man, and a honest man so why change, douglas county is not the same county it was two years ago,our police have thier hands full and they do a fine job because they have a good sheriff leading them and he has my vote
Schute November 06, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Nice picture of you on Candidate Broughton's website wearing a supporter shirt James.
Schute November 06, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Be that as it may, I would have liked to see a debate as well but I am positive your candidate wouldn't have faired well. Your assertion that his time at a ledger department equates to a higher rank at a smaller department. He doesn't have the qualifications of a shift Lieutenant much less a Sheriff. And for someone who touts his POST hours as qualifications, he is lacking in hours for someone with that many years on the job. The bottom line is your candidate has no supervisory experience (Cpl-Lt) or management experience (Capt and higher). Obvisouly his own command staff has no regard for his supervisory capabilities or his management potential. H has nor formal education past high school, no formal management/ supervisory training such as the Ga Law Enforcement Command College or the FBI National Academy. As a mater of fact, I don't even see him claim he has a supervisory or management certification from POST. No advancement equals no confidence in him from his leaders or from those whom he would intend to lead - regardless of the size of the department's size. Find somewhere else to learn how to be a leader, we will stick with the proven leadership we havers now. And the next time you address him, it's Sheriff Miller. Your candidate is the "Mr." as he holds no office.
Schute November 06, 2012 at 10:40 PM
My apologies to the good folks of the patch for the typos.
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