EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a renewed $92 million contract with the U.S. Marshals Service on Monday.
The renewed agreement between the county and Marshals Service increases the amount of money the federal government will pay per day for each of its inmates. Under the new agreement, the county will receive $101 a day for each individual, up from $80 in the previous contract.
It is a four-year contract renewal and is a 26.25 percent increase in revenue from the county’s previous agreement. Financial officials say it will produce $92 million in revenue over the span of the agreement.
It includes a reimbursement rate of $39 an hour for officers to provide guard services at medical appointments and at hospital stays outside the jail.
Commissioner of Precinct 1 Carlos Leon called the renewed proposal “a great contract” and praised the amount of pay the county would receive for providing guard services during medical appointments.
“It’s excellent,” he said. “I move to approve.”
David Stout, commissioner of Precinct 2, said he supports the contract and acknowledged the difficulty of the agreement considering many of the federal government’s inmates came through immigration issues.
But having migrants jailed in the county provides oversight and an ability for families or attorneys to reach them without having to go far, he added.
“We continue to advocate on the federal level for changes in policies that would keep them from having to come in contact with the criminal justice system just for being here without authorization,” he said. “I also think it’s a difficult situation and I want to make it clear if we didn’t have these folks in the jail here, they could possibly sent to other jails where there is not a lot of oversight or private prisons where conditions are not the best.”
Stout began to comment that additional revenue from the contract for immigrant services but was interrupted by Leon.
The Precinct 1 commissioner commented Stout was bringing up another discussion when he had made a motion for voting on the contract. He did acknowledge it was an important one.
Stout rebutted by saying he had not had an opportunity to comment before voting started.
Assistant county attorney Christina Sanchez said Stout’s discussions were within the scope of the item but it would be up to Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
The item had been postponed several times as the federal agency reviewed the contract. Officials say a private firm was hired to assist the county in discussions over the contracts renewal.
Under the agreement, the county can renegotiate every three years.
Revenue produced from the contract is the county’s third largest source of revenue behind property and sales taxes.