NORWICH – The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office saw a significant increase in the demand for services in 2010 while at the same time faced serious financial strains brought on by New York State mandates.
In his annual report before the Chenango County Board of Supervisors yesterday, Chenango County Sheriff Ernest R. Cutting Jr. said he and his staff of 22 full time, sworn in deputies “met the challenges placed before us” using creativity, planning and grants.
Retirements, illnesses, injury and even deaths plagued the jail’s workforce throughout the year, however, leaving the Sheriff’s Office with largely 18 deputies on duty most of the time. More corrections officers worked overtime due to the multiple personnel issues as well as inmates who required more supervision. Medical problems, serious illness and drug and alcohol abuse meant some convicts require 24-hour supervision in their cells. Transporting inmates to and from the hospital to treat their various medical problems doubled housing costs last year as well.
The number of medical costs at the Public Safety Facility and Jail on Upper Ravine Road in Norwich skyrocketed last year. State mandates that require the county to pay for inmates’ drug, medical and mental health issues actually jeopardized services, Cutting said.
“The demands on our correctional and medical staff have increased at an unprecedented rate,” he said.
The services needed to treat inmates, particularly those who were remanded to the county jail from the Valley Ridge CIT across the street for violating their parole terms, have placed “a tremendous burden on our budget and staff.”