When West Jordan officials opened their own three-cell jail 10 months ago, they figured it would take three years for the facility to pay for itself.
They guessed wrong, City Manager Ron Olson said Tuesday. "We will break even on cost in two years instead, which makes us very happy."The city's plan at the time the jail was built was to save money and time by keeping some prisoners in town rather than having an officer transport them downtown to be booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
The lockup is plenty busy on weekends, frequently with DUI offenders, and gets regular use during the week,too. Since the facility opened Jan. 1, 173 people were booked into the holding cells, representing 3,614 hours or 151 prisoner days. The jail has also been a benefit to the city's justice court, Olson said.
The city spent about $35,000 to build the facility and has spent about $3,500 on meals, cleaning and supplies. Without the jail the city would have paid almost $20,000 more to book its prisoners downtown.
West Jordan's public safety department has had to adjust to the additional liability and responsibility for taking care of prisoners.