JCDC

While one of the corrections officers enters the cell block in the maximum security area of the Jerome Combs Detention Center to perform a regular security check, a second officer monitors his progress from outside the glass enclosure.

As the Kankakee County Board is considering this week a $24 million 2017 budget — one that will cut the sheriff's department by $533,000 and might lay off as many as 15 deputies — the county sheriff on Tuesday said the jail has begun housing 75 immigration detainees.

"At this point, we are housing [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] detainees for an undetermined amount of time," Sheriff Mike Downey said. "The initial 75 detainees housed in Kankakee County could potentially increase in the future."

Downey told the county board that the federal government is paying $80 per day per detainee, so the county is pulling in a little less than $6,000, minus food. Cost of running the jail is not factored in.

This year, operation of the jail, which includes other out-of-county prisoners, as well as our own, is expected to cost just more than $8 million.

The overall budget, which still would require full board approval before Dec.1, would not change substantially from what the county is expected to spend this year. However, Downey is asking the board for 24 percent increase, or $3.5 million, for the sheriff's department.

He is requesting an $8 million budget for the jail, the same as it was this year.

Overall revenue for the county is down. Sales tax is expecting to be down more than 11 percent by year's end. Property tax, another major portion of the county's revenue, is expected to be slightly up. But jail revenue is expected to be $5.2 million, down from $6.3 in 2015.

The county has been vying for immigration detainees for several years.

Downey said officials with ICE visited the Kankakee County Jail last Thursday and that other jails in McHenry and Pulaski counties, as well as in two counties in Wisconsin, can't accept any more detainees.