CANTON — With a decrease in the St. Lawrence County jail population, lawmakers Thursday night inquired about reducing the work force at the jail, but were told no go for at least a year, by Sheriff Brooks J. Bigwarfe.
During County Administrator Ruth A. Doyle’s report to the full board of legislators Thursday night, she said the number of inmates as of Thursday afternoon was 78, with four inmates recently being released in connection with the new state bail reform. “As a review, and I think some of you have seen ... those released were upon review of their charges,” Mrs. Doyle said. “Also the number of inmates dropped because there were state sentenced inmates that were moved on to their next location.”
Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, turned to Sheriff Bigwarfe and asked if the county could reduce the number of employees at the jail with the reduced population.
“That is a no,” the sheriff said. “I’ll explain why. I had a meeting with the commissioner of corrections last month at a training. He and his associates, the four higher ups, met with new sheriff’s and blankly said, ‘don’t come to us for a year, because we’re not going to reduce any pods or population.’”
Sheriff Bigwarfe said the commissioner was looking for a blueprint of the year to determine what reductions were applicable and that the jail was at mandate staffing.
“Our issue with, even though we are down to 78 (inmates), is there’s different pods in the jail,” Sheriff Bigwarfe said. “The classifications put different people in different spots, i.e., female-male population . . . There’s classifications in that certain inmates can’t be with certain inmates, because of that it means pods need to be manned.
“So, again, the commissioner, right out of his mouth, said, ‘don’t come to us for a year,’” he said. “‘Your legislators are going to ask this question,’ and here we are and they are not going to bring down their numbers for a year.”