Baton Rouge City Court has collected more than $270,000 in fines, court costs and failure-to-appear fees since Baton Rouge City Jail began staying open 24 hours a day, court officials said Friday.
In total, City Court collected $270,046 from July 22 through Thursday, said Lon Norris, City Court administrator.
The daily rate of collections for this period is 31 percent higher than the daily rate for the entire month of June, Norris said.
The spike comes one week after Baton Rouge City Jail began a two-week trial period of 24-hour operation to house people arrested for misdemeanors.
The jail ordinarily closed at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and was not open weekends.
City Court has collected at least $41,000 each day since July 22, except on Saturday and Sunday, Norris said.
City Court raised its highest amount this past week Monday, collecting $59,717, Norris said.
“I would expect that we’ll probably see a higher number (this coming) Monday than we saw today (Friday),” Norris said. “And then I think it’ll gradually dwindle - not to our normal capacity, but similar to what it did this week.”
Through Thursday, nearly 11,000 people had visited City Court since July 22 to take care of their outstanding warrants, Norris said. The highest number came on Monday at 2,650 people.
Through 6 a.m. Friday, 214 people had been booked into City Jail for outstanding warrants, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
City Constable Reginald Brown said about 70 percent of the people booked into City Jail during this period have bonded out.
“We’ve only had to transport a small amount to (East Baton Rouge) Parish Prison,” Brown said.
The Sheriff’s Office alone had cleared 283 warrants through 11 a.m. Friday, Hicks said.
“So far, this seems like a very effective way to motivate people to voluntarily come in and take care of outstanding warrants, thus clearing up the system,” Hicks said.
Parish law enforcement officials announced this trial period two days before it began. Their plan was to take care of hundreds of thousands of outstanding warrants in the parish, as well as relieve congestion in prison systems.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White said July 13 that the trial period would last two weeks, but officials said July 20 that it would last until Gautreaux and Brown end it.
However, Brown said he does not expect the 24-hour operation to continue after the two-week time frame ends Aug. 5. “We don’t have the manpower to do that.”
Brown said his office has used five or six reserve officers daily to keep it open.
After this period ends, officials will present their findings to the Metro Council about the feasibility of permanently keeping the jail open 24 hours a day.
Metro Council members Mike Walker, Trae Welch and Donna Collins-Lewis met Thursday afternoon with Brown, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and District Attorney Hillar Moore III to talk about future parish public safety funding.
Part of the discussion involved funding to keep the jail open around the clock.
The meeting came one day after the Metro Council shot down Mayor-President Kip Holden’s latest tax and bond issue, which included a public safety component.