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MCSO Projects Fee Increases After Mesa Jail Privatization

Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail
(Photo courtesy of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Facebook)
MCSO's Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix.

The Mesa City Council approved a contract with private prison operator Core Civic to transport and hold misdemeanor offenders at a facility in Florence.

Instead of paying the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to book and house inmates, Mesa will now pay Core Civic a monthly fee for housing and transportation.

MCSO currently charges $306 to book an inmate. MCSO said booking fees will likely increase $10-$15 as a result of Mesa’s decision to privatize. The booking fee is now projected to increase to $337 by fiscal year 2018-19.

MCSO does not know if daily housing costs will be affected. When they are finalized, the new fees will take effect July first.

MCSO said Mesa misdemeanor offenders account for about 3.5 percent of total bookings. Mesa will continue to book and house felony offenders at the county jail.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.