Posted by Robert Homann on May 17, 2017
Our speaker today is Matt Hedrick of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.  Matt is the Deputy Chief for Detention Services.  He grew up in Mesa and graduated from Mountain View High School.  He has been a police officer for 18 years.  Much of his career was as an officer on the San Carlos and Salt River reservation police forces since he is half Native American. He and his wife have 3 teenage children.  Matt did a 2-year mission term in Chicago and it was a great experience for him.
Matt is in charge of the Pinal County jail.  The jail has 1500 beds but currently there are only 498 inmates, 48 of whom are undocumented.  ICE wants 500 beds at the Pinal County jail and would pay the county for them, but ICE insists on its own standards for incarceration which would put them in conflict with the existing way of doing things, so the Sheriff's office said "No" to ICE.
There are 146 employees at the jail.  Aides handle the paper work related to admitting and releasing inmates, preparing court paper work, monitoring surveillance cameras, etc.  Officers have contact with the inmates.  Some have direct supervision which means they are in the inmate pods while they are on duty.  Others have indirect supervision which means they enter the pods at certain times but do not stay in them.  Matt is looking to hire 30 new officers. 
With respect to undocumented aliens, the jail has 6 officers trained to work with ICE.  Under 287g, the jail must release undocumented persons after 48 hours of detention if ICE has not come to the jail to pick them up.  Some cities, counties and even states (Colorado) have declared themselves "sanctuaries" and they will not hold undocumented people at all for minor offenses. 
The average stay in the jail is about 90 days as the person awaits a Superior Court trial.  Post-trial, it is about 16 days as the paper work is cleared , etc.  If the person is found guilty and sentenced, they stay in the jail with credit for time served but if the sentence is longer than 1 year, they are transferred to one of the state's prisons.
Matt is impressed with Wexford which supplies health care services to prisoners at the Yavapai County jail. He is exploring using them at the Pinal County jail.
There is a long section of U.S/Mexico border that runs along the south end of the Tohono Odom reservation.  The tribe does NOT want a fence along its border so that is going to pose an interesting issue for THE GREAT WALL builders.  People coming across through the reservation funnel directly into Pinal County.
Thanks Deputy Hedrick for being with us today and for your service to the people of Pinal County.