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The cost to do time

Far less juveniles than adults are in lockup in North Dakota, but it costs more than twice as much to keep them in a corrections center, officials say.

Stark County Commissioners signed an agreement with the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation last month to continue paying $182.50 per day per juvenile who is sent to the Youth Correction Center in Mandan prior to adjudication.

"I'm dismayed at the level that they're using for reimbursement," Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning said. "There's no way that it costs the penitentiary or any other facility that much per day per prisoner I don't think."

The county pays $70 a day per person to house prisoners at the Southwest Multi County Corrections Center in Dickinson, according to the Kay Haag, Stark County auditor.

It costs about $90 a day to house an adult prisoner with the North Dakota Department of Corrections, said David Krabbenhoft, director of administration with the NDDOCR.

"On the juvenile side we have a fully functioning accredited school that the kids go to also," Krabbenhoft said. "So we have teachers hired there and they actually can get a degree from the school at YCC, a high school degree."

Lisa Bjergaard, director of Juvenile Services for NDDOCR said the school is the main reason for the cost discrepancy between adults and juveniles.

The charge to house juveniles is set using a federal formula, she added.

"We use their rate-setting process because they have a standardized, across the country formula that you use and that formula includes all of the costs for running the school," Bjergaard said. "What's figured into that rate is set by the guidelines in that federal formula."

Very few juvenile detainees will be paid for with county dollars, she added.

"The county would pay for the cost of detention should your county detain a (juvenile) prior to their appearing in court," Bjergaard said. "Anytime that your local jurisdiction can divert kids out of secure custody, I know that they do and so they would only be putting kids into detention that either meet the federal detention criteria or that are a clear public threat."

Bjergaard said the process leading up to a juvenile being sent to a correction center is more expensive than housing them.

Henning said Stark County utilizes the Youth Correction Center through NDDOCR because it's the only detention center in the area.

"We are required to have something available and although it's used infrequently, we do occasionally need it," Henning said. "We don't have any other options that I'm aware of."

Stark County Paid

Youth Detention

$10,422.45 for 2009

$ 7,131.15 for 2010

Adult Correction Center

$552,853.27 for 2009

$565,065.56 for 2010

- Information courtesy of Stark County