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Crowded MDC moves inmates

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The Sandoval County Detention Center could receive a substantial amount of money over the next year for housing Bernalillo County prisoners.

Sandoval County initially accepted 48 male prisoners, with the possibility of accepting more as it adds correctional officers and staff, after the County Commission approved a one-year contract to house inmates from the overcrowded Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center.

The Bernalillo County Commission earlier approved more than $600,000 to cover prisoner transfers for this fiscal year ending June 30, and up to $6.8 million for transfers through June 2014, to cover transfers for up to 300 inmates from MDC. Most of those transfers would probably go to Sandoval County, or to a few other jails around the state, depending on jail capacities.

Before the contract was approved last week, Sandoval County was housing 170 prisoners in its 386-capacity jail.

With the new contract, Bernalillo County will pay Sandoval County $62 a day, per prisoner.

Sandoval County in the meantime is still hoping to regain a federal contract it lost last year after three suicides prompted the U.S. Marshals Service to withdraw all federal prisoners from the jail.

“We are still working on that,” Sandoval County spokesman Sidney Hill said. He said discussions with federal officials are ongoing.

The cost to county taxpayers for operating the jail is expected to decrease from about $7.5 million a year to about $4 million if the center regains the federal contract.

These estimates don’t include revenue generated from housing Bernalillo County prisoners.

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