The Lincoln County Detention Center in Pioche is a vital part of Lincoln County’s economy.

Sheriff Kerry Lee noted recently that the number of inmates coming to the detention center from the city of North Las Vegas has increased a little bit. “Our contract with them is for a 65-bed daily minimum and we have been around 75 per day as of late. This has been helpful to us, because all numbers above the 65 daily minimum is extra money for the center.”

Lee said he wants the public to know of the importance of the contract with North Las Vegas “because it really does affect every facet of our county budget.”

“It does fluctuate some,” he said, “but we have been running mostly more than 65 inmates. We are now making two transports a week to and from North Las Vegas instead of just one. They are paying us over $1 million a year and it is very important for us to be able to break even with staff and support for the facility.”

He said before the contract was negotiated a couple of years ago, in the amount of between $150-$170,000 a month, “Lincoln County had been paying over $700,000 a year to run the detention center with just our local inmates and to pay for dispatch. I think present-day expenses would be closer to one million a year for the same services, but the contract helps us to just about break even most of the time.”

He said, “We had a need after losing our contract with Clark County Detention, and the city of North Las Vegas had a need, and we were able to work out an agreement with them for their inmates, a helpful solution for both of us.”

He said some inmates are short-term, maybe 48-72 hours, but others may stay for 60-90 days.

“My officers are working harder on this contract than they have ever worked before because now we are getting some of the more difficult mental health cases. It is definitely more staff intensive.”

He said the sheriff’s department still has a need for bailiffs for the county court, “but since we were able to fill our detention center staff needs, between the jail and patrol, we are able to manage that so far. Still a need, but we’re getting by.”

Having more inmates with mental health issues coming up from North Las Vegas has created the need for special programs and equipment, a need which Lee said is currently being addressed.

Lee encouraged local citizens to let their respective county commissioners know they support the facility and what it is dong to benefit the county budget. He said, “Commissioners themselves are fully aware of the situation too, because they make scheduled quarterly jail inspection tours. They are working closely with us to make sure we have the manpower and things we need here, and how we are working hard to minimize costs.”

A few staff replacements at the jail have occurred, which Lee said will “help alleviate the number of overtime hours we were having to cover.”