State will stop paying for inmates in county jails - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State will stop paying for inmates in county jails

By Doug Walker – bio | email

WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) – The Stone County Regional Correctional Facility in Wiggins houses 400 inmates, including 40 state inmates.  The county receives a lot of money each year for keeping them there, $20 a day for each inmate. 

But because of budget cuts, state officials say that money will no longer be paid.  That doesn't sit well with Warden Dwain Brewer. He said part of the jail was built to specifically house state inmates.

"I'm going to talk to the Board of Supervisors and see what they have to say about it." Brewer said.  "I don't think they want to absorb those costs, but at $20, that gets pretty expensive." 

Board of Supervisors President Dale Bond said they're not ruling out sending the inmates back, but he's hopeful a compromise can be worked out.

"We hope to be able to make a trip to Jackson, along with other counties that are affected, and hopefully work this situation out," Bond said. 

Even though Stone County would stand to lose $300,000 in payments from the state, the value of the inmates working there goes well beyond that.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inmate labor is done on various county and city projects. the value of that work, such as cleaning up county roadways, is hard to put an exact dollar figure on, but Wiggins Mayor Jerry Alexander said it can add up quickly.

"The city of Wiggins is in a financial crunch just like the rest of the country, and I don't know what it would cost us if we didn't have our inmates. But it would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year," Mayor Alexander said. 

And that's money neither the county or the city is willing to give up without a fight.

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