Cost rises in holding state inmates in county jails

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The cost of holding state inmates in county jails has continued to increase over the years.

As of right now, the state reimburses the counties about sixty percent of what it costs to house the inmates.

Today there was a committee meeting that discussed the reimbursement rates and what counties want done in the legislature.

On average, each state inmate that is held in the county jail may cost up to about $54 a day. They get reimbursed $30 by the state, which means that $24 comes out of each of the counties pockets.

Sebastian County Judge David Hudson said that today in the committee hearing that they have to move finances out of the general fund in order to pay the difference for state inmates each month. The last time the reimbursement rate was increased to $30 a day was in 2015. He says that it is simply not enough.

“You can clearly see that our actual costs are still in an upward trend. We’re getting further and further away from that 30 dollars a day as as far as actual cost,” say’s Lindsey Bailey the Legal Counsel of the Association of Arkansas Counties.

In a memo sent to committee members Judge Hudson also said that if the reimbursement rate for holding state inmates in the county jail is increased then more county jails would be more likely interested in housing them. He says that it would then help with overcrowding.

The judge brought forth the resolution 2019 to address the reimbursement and overcrowding issues.

He hopes that they will be considered in the future.

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