Magazine article Corrections Forum

Inmates on the Move

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Inmates on the Move

Article excerpt

When mmate needs to be moved, getting him or her to a court date or transferred to another facility 10 miles away or 10 states away can be daunting. In the past, many correctional facilities and sheriff's departments maintained a fleet of their own transport vehicles. But as gas costs soar, maintenance of these highly specialized units increase, and not to mention the safety factor, some facilities now outsource this service. "When we transport inmates, we take all of the associated risks off of the correctional facility by providing the general liability, insurance, vehicle liability, as well as workers' comp," explains Bill Brees, marketing and operation support director for US Extradition Service. "In the event something did go wrong, the agency isn't held liable."

One-Way Ticket

When a facility moves inmates a significant distance away, the cost can quickly add up. Aside from the vehicle's requirements like gas, oil changes and regular maintenance, staff members are paid - including overtime hours - and the facility covers all of their food and overnight stays, including the return trip home. "Our customers only pay one-way mileage when we transport one of their inmates. This cuts down on their costs and keeps their corrections officers on site where they're need most," adds Brees.

US Extradition Service transports inmates throughout the country for various agencies with their fleet of vans, buses and planes. When an agency contacts this service, they're guaranteed the inmate will be at the desired location within 72 hours. Brees notes that some agencies utilize their services once or twice a year, while others use them almost daily, especially for probation and parole transports.

Transports rates for US Extradition Service start at a little over $1 per mile. Brees points out that other companies might charge for a round trip or additional fees if the inmate is over a certain weight. "We explain that we can save them upwards of 60 percent compared to them doing it in-house. We have officers stationed all over the country, which helps us meet our guaranteed turnaround," he states.

The company's buses hold 12 to 14 passengers with an onboard restroom and has 12-passenger vans, all with segregation units within, as well as Crown Victoria cruisers for two inmates.

Outsourced Options

Other transport companies are available throughout the country. One such company, Prisoner Transport Services (PTS) transports more than 100,000 detainees each year. Their fleet includes Full-Size Vans for 12 inmates, Mini- Vans for five and cars for no more than two. Compartmentalized units provide maximum security for travel. Segregated units are used for female inmates or disruptive riders.

When In-Custody Transport moves inmates, no less than two armed and uniformed agents are assigned to the transport of adult and juvenile male and female inmates, as well as high risk and medical patients. The company's fleet of vehicles is less than 18 months old and feature secure enclosures to eliminate any possibility of escape, GPS vehicle tracking, in-vehicle DVD recordable camera systems, and onboard Internet, fax, e-mail, teletype and printing.

Re-Use Your Cell

The VanCell Prisoner Transportation System manufactured by Bob Barker Company fits inside standard and extended length Chevy, Ford, Dodge and GMC vans, and are currently in use in transport vehicles ranging from county jails to state prisons throughout the U.S. "The majority of our customers use VanCell units in their vehicles when transporting inmates for short trips," says Pam Whitmill, vice president of sales. "Our units hold up to 11 inmates and are ideal for facilities that don't want or need to use a bus. …

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