Vernon County renews contract to house 50 state inmates at the Vernon County Jail

VIROQUA, Wis – Vernon County previously held state inmates in the county jail between 2017 and 2018 and they will again house state prisoners locally under a new state contract approved last month.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding the county will be paid $51.46 per inmate per day and will run through August 31 of 2024. The agreement can be extended at that time.

The issue of housing state inmates has been discussed at a number of county committees in the last several months and according to Sheriff Roy Torgerson and Jail Administrator Captain Mike Davig, the arrangement will bring the county $940,000 a year if they house the maximum 50 prisoners. According to Davig the county will see an increase of some overhead costs including wages, meals, laundry and other various services, but the county estimates it will net about $500,000 after expenses.

Davig said the county will house all male inmates and they will be housed separately from the local population. The Vernon County Detention facility was built new in 2005 along with the Sheriff’s Office and was designed to hold a maximum or 128 inmates. Davig said they expect an average population of about 70-75 inmates, including the 50 state placements.

Davig said his department is in the process of hiring more staff to handle the additional population, and the The Vernon County Board of Supervisors approved a pay increase this month for Reserve Correctional Officers in an attempt to be more competitive with surrounding communities, and retain current staff.

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Tim Hundt

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  • Nice reporting, Tim,

    This just illustrates what a boondoggle building this grand facility was. I’d love to see some journalism looking back on who made these decisions and pushed this through.

    If I understand your numbers correctly the current census, before the state contract, might be 20-25 local inmates at about a 15% capacity.

    Taxpayers of this county have been paying interest on bonds and overhead for this white elephant for going on 20 years. This income will offset some of the cost but it’s still likely going to be losing money.

    Mark Kastel

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