The Jackson County Commission continues to inform the public of where its money is being spent.
County Administrator Bob Manning addressed the increasing number of state inmates at county jails. The Jackson County Jail currently houses about 240 inmates. Manning said that number has increased from 130 inmates two years ago.
Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said the increase in the number of inmates is a concern for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. There are still the same number of employees at the jail, but the jail is 30 people over capacity.
Manning said he received a note on Monday that there was some action in Montgomery where the state is looking to pass more cost onto the counties. Manning said the growing number of inmates in the county jail is costing the county more and more money every year.
Manning said the county is paying about $300,000 per year for inmate healthcare and dental.
The note read, “Officials with the Alabama Department of Corrections point to a provision of the 2015 prison reform legislation as the culprit for a sharp increase in state inmates sleeping in county jails – and a close look at the numbers give rise to great concern. On June 14, more than 200 state inmates were housed in county jails in direct violation of the Alabama Supreme Court order that the inmates be removed within 30 days.
This number does not include the scores of others sitting in county jails who are not technically classified as ‘state inmates’ yet await transfer to state custody because of technical violations of their parolee conditions. These so-called ‘dunks’ – parolees who commit minor violations and who returned to state custody for a 45-day timeout – are now backing up in county jails as the state juggles the intake of both newly convicted inmates, as well as the growing number of ‘dunks’ being produced at the local level.
Waiting in the wings are another 400 inmates who will be in violation of the 30-day order if they are not moved to state custody by July 4. And all of this is occurring while some state leaders are looking at plans to shift more state inmates to local custody.”
“This is just another situation of the people in Montgomery coming up with ways to pass more cost onto the counties,” said Manning.