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Agreement Between Rock Island and Scott County Helps Keep Prisoners Close to Home

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - The Scott County jail has too many inmates and the sheriff says he needs somewhere to send them.

In a rare agreement, he's sending some of them out of state but the transfer of inmates actually keeps them closer to home.

The agreement doesn't happen very often between boarder states but when Rock Island county sheriff Gerry Bustos heard the Scott County jail was running at capacity he offered a renewal of a deal they couldn't pass up.

An agreement renewal from the late 90s is helping communities on both sides of the river.

“Even though it's a river and two states it's an imaginary line and we do everything to help each other out,” says Rock Island County Sheriff, Gerry Bustos.

A helping Bustos says is a win win for his department and Scott County.

“You can almost throw a rock between the two jails.  One is in Illinois and ones in Iowa so it makes perfect sense,” added Bustos.

When Scott County hits 90% capacity, they have to funnel prisoners out. Scott County Sheriff Dennis Conard says sometimes prisoners are sent hours away.

“It does happen. We don't like it when it happens because it can be costly for Scott County,” says Conard.

The agreement allows Scott County to send prisoners across the river to Rock Island County.   That allows for taxpayers dollars to stretch because of cheaper transportation costs. It also keeps money in the quad cities.

“Basically without this agreement it is illegal to cross prisoners over state lines,” says Conard.

The deal take cares of that.

“If the agencies work well together then it flows smoothly and that's not the case everywhere in the United States. We have a great working relationship with our partners,” added Conard.

“Scott County is our neighbor so anything we can do to help our neighbor, we are going to make any attempt to do that,” added Bustos.

It also helps people with loved ones in jail.

"You can look at it from a family perspective for those people who are incarcerated. If they want to visit their family members they don't have to drive far. They can literally drive five minutes further,” says Bustos.

No prisoners from Scott County are currently in Rock Island County but both sheriffs agree it's good to have everything in place in case it’s needed.

The Scott County is not at capacity anymore but Sheriff Conard says one bad weekend could send them over the top again.