AN ASTOUNDING 1,200 jail professionals packed into the Oregon Convention Center last week for the American Jail Association's (AJA) 29th Annual Training Conference and Jail Expo. With Oregon now spending more of its budget on corrections than on higher education, the convention was a hot ticket—a $240 ticket (with member discount), to be exact.
On the floor of the convention center, vendors pitched the latest in locks and suicide prevention. To top it all off was a metaphor come to life: Just through the main doors there was a money shower. Yes. Literally. An inflatable shower that blew around actual dollar bills for the snatching.
Amid all the money and newfangled technology, AJA President and Multnomah County Sheriff Captain Bobbi Luna overflowed with excitement. "In Multnomah County, we've been innovators in the field of jail management for years," she said. "It's very important to keep our eyes on the future to make sure things don't become outdated."
For your learning pleasure, here is a breakdown of Oregon's jail money shower, AKA the cost of keeping corrections cutting edge.
$3,000-7,000: Cost of one "video visitation unit" from Strike Industries, a special telephone and video setup for inmates to visit with family and lawyers.
$12,000-15,000: Pricetag of one Vaughan Company "chopper pump." When inmates flush things they shouldn't, this ultimate chopping pump, on display at the jail expo, promised to keep the jail sewage system clog free.
$157: Cost of a single "CyberLock" and electronic-encoded key, a metal device that replaces any regular padlock or pin lock, preventing the need for card-swipe systems.
$425,000: Cost of safety railings at Multnomah County's Inverness Jail and the Detention Center.
$300,000: Cost of washer and dryer replacements at Inverness Jail.
1,275,756: Pounds of clean laundry processed for inmates in the 2008-2009 year.
$10,000: Cost of trim painting at Multnomah County's Juvenile Justice Complex.
$79,328,156: Multnomah County corrections budget for 2010.
564.56: Number of full-time positions in Multnomah County corrections.
1,367: Multnomah County current jail bed capacity.
92: Percent of Multnomah County jail beds filled each day.