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Jail costs low in Green County
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MONROE - A recent report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance has revealed that Green County's jail was Wisconsin's ninth least expensive corrections facility per capita in 2014.

According to WTA's data, the Green County Jail cost taxpayers only $41 per person two years ago.

The Lafayette County Jail cost $62 per person, ranking it the 27th least expensive out of 72 counties in the state.

The most expensive corrections facility in the state was that in Forest County, which cost $201 per capita. Conversely, the facility in Iron County was the least expensive, costing no money whatsoever to taxpayers. Both Forest and Iron counties are in the northern part of the state.

WTA's data also revealed the counties' law enforcement expenses in 2014. The law enforcement budgets of Green and Lafayette counties cost taxpayers $108 and $109 per person, respectively.

Green County Sheriff Mark Rohloff said that in many counties, Green included, services are shared between the county's law enforcement and jail operations, blurring the line between the two budgets. However, he added that Green County was fortunate in that each of its municipalities have officers, unlike other counties whose sheriffs have been forced to provide contracted law enforcement to incorporated villages.

WTA's data revealed that law enforcement spending increased by 10.2 percent statewide between 2007 and 2014. Rural counties in general spent more on law enforcement, partly because of the comparatively smaller number of municipal police departments than in urban areas.

Conversely, prisoner populations statewide dropped between 2007 and 2014, leading to an average 9 percent decrease in prison spending.

Rohloff said the average jail population in 2014 dropped from well over 50 to 45, saving a considerable amount of per diem costs.

In addition, the jail saved more than $70,000 by privatizing inmate food services, Rohloff said. Furthermore, two staff positions were open for much of the year, which further reduced costs as 82 percent of the jail's budget goes to staff wages.

Lafayette County Jail administrator Mary Paisley said the jail spent, on average, $261.33 per inmate daily in January. The jail's annual budget in 2014 was $1,053,468.

Paisley said she would "always like to improve" the jail's spending, but expenditures fluctuate depending on how many inmates and staff are at the jail at any given time.