Culpeper County has expressed interest in joining the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail as a regular member.
RSW Jail Authority Board Chairman Garrey Curry, who is county administrator for Rappahannock County, disclosed the information at the jail’s Authority Board meeting Thursday afternoon.
Curry said he was contacted by the Culpeper County administrator.
“There are pros and cons,” Curry said during the meeting, the first to be held in-person at the jail since the beginning months of 2020.
The jail is currently used by Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren counties. The county administrator, sheriff, and a member of the Board of Supervisors from each county comprise the jail’s oversight Authority Board.
Rappahannock County contributes $362,827, or 5.27% to the budget; Shenandoah County contributes $3 million or 43.78%; and Warren County contributes about $3.5 million, or 50.95%, respectively, toward the jail's roughly $6.9 million budget for the current fiscal year.
The jail has also been renting bed space to Culpeper and Page counties at a recently increased rate of $48 and $50 per bed, respectively. Those together are projected to offset costs by about $1 million, lowering the member contributions to what they are now.
The average daily population of the 308 inmates for June from the three-member jurisdictions was comprised of 17 from Rappahannock, or 5.7%; 132 from Shenandoah, or 42.8%; and 159 from Warren, or 51.5%.
An additional 110 inmates — 73 from Culpeper County and 37 from Page County — came through the bed rentals.
Jail Superintendent Russell Gilkison said the latest addition would depend on what Culpeper is looking for in terms of keeping the facility they have for some of their inmates or how many inmates they would like to keep at RSW Regional Jail.
RSW Regional Jail currently has 45 officer vacancies, 12 of which are intentionally being held for savings.
Gilkison has previously said those vacancies haven’t impacted the services that are being provided at the jail, but it has taken away about 140 beds that could be used. If those beds could be filled, more revenue could be generated, the board has previously discussed.
Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter said the jail needs to figure out how it wants to handle the situation before seeing what Culpeper County wants.
Under the current situation, the jail has the best of both worlds by housing inmates from outside jurisdictions in exchange for a per diem rate, an arrangement that doesn't require giving them any authority over the jail, Carter said. With the vacancies, the jail can “turn off” accepting inmates from Culpeper County if it wants to, Carter added.
Board attorney Brendan Hefty noted that it may be wise to see what Culpeper County wants, before making the investments to determine what is possible in accommodating Culpeper and risk having it not work out.
During a Finance and Personnel Committee meeting prior to the full authority board meeting, Shenandoah County Administrator Evan Vass and Warren County Administrator Edwin Daley, who sits on the authority board, said they were interested and willing to listen.
The jail previously considered adding Page County six years ago as a permanent member and enlisted the help of Davenport & Company for a study on the move. Page County was not allowed to join full time, Carter, said.
Warren County Supervisor Delores Oates stated, “There’s a lot of investment that has been made here by the existing counties.” Her comment came as she also questioned what would be fair for Culpeper County to contribute as a regular member.
On the topic of the officer vacancies, Gilkison said his team is working to fill them, and it’s never been easy to do so. But given the current climate of public safety, it's been harder, Gilkison said.
Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors member Stephen Baker was also present for the meeting.
The Finance and Personnel Committee Meeting is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 and the full-board is scheduled to meet next at 2 p.m. on Sept. 23.