County jail inmates spent more than $1.9 million on phone calls and commissary purchases during the last fiscal year but revenue continues to drop, according to the annual report on the inmate welfare trust fund.
The fund is used to operate the library system and provide a variety of inmate services like education, drug and alcohol treatment and accounting. The Sheriff’s Office also uses the fund to buy recreation items like televisions and stand-alone computers located in day rooms and housing units of the primary Maguire Correctional Facility in downtown Redwood City and other correctional facilities.
The fund generates its revenue from inmate commissary sales, including prepaid calling cards, and commissions on inmate telephone calls.
In fiscal year 2012-13, the total gross revenue was $1,976,429 which breaks down to $1,345,068 from commissary and $631,361 from telephone commissions.
After $1,960,136 in expenses and refunding $49,380 in overpaid telephone commissions, the $16,294 in extra revenue was added to the existing fund balance for a closing amount of $514,300 as of June 30, 2013.
In May 2013, the Sheriff’s Office contracted with a new telephone service provider who guarantees higher commissions, according to a staff report on the fund by Sheriff Greg Munks.
Munks will deliver the fund update to the Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting.
A downturn in inmate spending has been a habit the last several years in San Mateo County.
The previous year’s spending of $2.1 million was 1 percent below the year before and that year was itself down 8.76 percent. Sheriff’s officials have theorized that spending fluctuates with the overall economy because of how much money family and friends may or may not have to place on the books for shopping.
The Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 3 in Board Chambers, 400 Government Center, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102