JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, it is decreasing the number of state inmates at regional facilities to contractual levels because it doesn’t have the money to pay counties more.
"The legislature did not fund a $3.6 million deficit in the regional program in the current budget year," MDOC stated on its Facebook page Friday morning.
MDOC Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall stated the agency values its relationships with counties, but it sees no other option after reviewing its finances.
"Letters have been sent to all sheriffs housing inmates above the contractual level to notify them of MDOC‘s decision," MDOC stated.
MDOC stated it has agreements with all regional facilities to house MDOC inmates at varying minimum populations for each jail.
RELATED: List of regional facilities
Alcorn County Sheriff Ben Caldwell says the minimum inmate population at his jail is 240, according to the MDOC contract signed years ago. The more inmates he receives from the state, the more money his jail receives.
When MDOC takes inmates away from regional facilities, the jails see less money too.
Caldwell says his jail receives $29.74 a day per inmate from the state. He says his jail has been seeing a decrease in inmates recently. He says last month his jail had 295 inmates on average. On Friday, he said the jail has 261 inmates. He says the state actually took away more on Friday.
Chickasaw County Sheriff Jim Meyers says the smaller funds is not enough to help his jail operate.
"We still contend that regional jails house state inmates cheaper and more economically than the state can," Meyers said. "We are hoping our state legislators will see this and fully fund regional jails. It is a win-win situation for the county and the state."
"This is not a good thing for Alcorn County and other counties," Sheriff Caldwell said.
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