Commissioner Proctor calls for reduced detainee population in Leon County

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 7:36 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Amid calls to lower the number of detainees at the Leon County Detention Center, Commissioner Bill Proctor wants to talk to the state attorney and public defender about reducing the population.

Detainees typically stay at the facility for an average of 262 days before sentencing. Proctor wants to reduce that to 30-45 days. He says this would not only cut down on the population but also save taxpayer money.

Additionally, Proctor says it’s an equity issue. According to the county’s public safety council, 70% of detainees are Black.

“The bottom line is, why does it take 262 days to get a man or woman out of this jail?” Proctor said today.

Commissioner Proctor wants to speed up the process of getting detainees out and back to their lives. He says right now, that process is painstakingly slow.

“It’s getting bogged up,” Proctor said. “And it’s not moving.”

As of Tuesday, there were 1,166 detainees in the Leon County facility and 30 inmates staying at other facilities in nearby counties.

“This is normal,” Sheriff Walt McNeil said. “These numbers are normal.”

McNeil said numbers always hover around 1,100.

“Anybody that’s out there telling you that we’re overcrowded, that’s a misunderstanding,” he said.

Still, Proctor says this number is too high. During the first phase of the pandemic, the population went down to 800.

“What makes that impossible now?” Proctor asked. “If you’ve got 300 people less per night, that’s actually $30,000 difference for me and you to pay.”

According to the Leon County Public Safety Council, taxpayers pay roughly 100 dollars per inmate per day—which adds up to more than $100,000 a day.

Proctor also said he doesn’t want Leon County transporting detainees to other facilities, which incurs an additional cost.

“It will save us some money and most of all, it’ll get them on the way with their lives.”

State Attorney Jack Campbell said he’s open to meeting to discussing this issue, and that he’s constantly working to reduce the number of people behind bars.

We called Public Defender Jessica Yeary’s office but were unable to reach her.

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