OWI #1 arrest made in county, jail cuts costs in 2011

PLYMOUTH — Nearly 300 individuals in Marshall County were arrested for operating while intoxicated in 2011, according to a recent report from Sheriff Tom Chamberlin. OWI was the number one reason for arrests last year, followed closely by failure to appear and driving while suspended. Possession of methamphetamine was at the bottom of the top 10, however, which Chamberlin said is an improvement from past years.
“This is directly related to good training of law enforcement and secondly, community education,” said Chamberlin during Monday’s county commissioners meeting, adding that his department receives many tips from citizens about suspicious trash and “nine out of 10 times the state police go out there and do clean up.”
Chamberlin also discussed ways the jail has saved money in the past year. These cost saving programs include: reducing inmate hot shower availability to two hours a day, five days a week; installing motion detector lights; cutting inmate toilet paper use to one roll per week; and introducing an automated system inmates use to purchase items from commissary.
Also, beginning in 2011, the Marshall County Jail contracted with Bowen Center for inmate mental health services.
“Where we have saved a lot of money is in the prescription (drug) area,” said Chamberlin. “We have saved a tremendous amount of money since we started with the Bowen Center. By providing therapist interaction on a regular basis, the prescription drug budget has been reduced.”
In the future, the jail may stop allowing inmates to send and receive traditional letters in envelopes. Instead, only postcards would be allowed. This would save jailers time inspecting mail. Chamberlin said that there were three incidents of suspicious substances on letters last year.
Chamberlin and members of his department have also come up with ways to increase revenue in the last year. Inmates without disciplinary issues are able to purchase additional visits with friends and family in ten minute increments. This generated $2,475 in 2011. Inmates are also able to purchase additional meals at $2.50 each, bringing in $7,930 in 2011.