View Full Version : Article: Towns fail to pay off jail debts

Phil in Paris
01-12-2005, 06:24 PM
Aimee Robinette
BC Staff Writer
Published January 05, 2005 2:52 PM CST

Tommy Taylor, the warden of the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility, asked the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors to take "tougher action" to collect outstanding balances owed to the prison by municipalities.

The correctional facility houses municipal criminals as well as county/state and other state prisoners for a per diem fee plus medical costs. Municipalities may pay anywhere from $25 to $28 per inmate, as the cost fluctuates. County/state inmates cost $20 to house, and state inmates cost $28.77 per day.

At present, the facility is owed $175, 559. Eight out of the 13 municipalities which utilize the correctional facility owe money. The specific city names are not being released at this time. The Mississippi Department of Corrections also has an outstanding bill for county/state inmates, which Taylor said is normal for this time of year.

Typically, the bills are taken care of through a deficit appropriation by the legislature. Taylor added all county sheriff departments are usually owed money at this time.

In the meeting with the supervisors, Taylor and Bolivar County Sheriff H.M. "Mack" Grimmett said they thought around $110,000 would soon be paid, but many of the municipalities are very slack in paying for their prisoners.

All municipalities were given a contract to sign by the correctional facility, but Taylor said they "aren't honoring them."

"The sheriff and I have talked about this," Taylor said. "And we would like to see more pressure being put on municipalities to pay."

The supervisors asked what the billing cycle for municipalities was.

"They are billed monthly," Taylor said. "But if they would pay at all that would be good."

Taylor added he had also gone beyond sending bills to try to collect. He said he has taken the bills to the monthly municipality board meetings, has called and talked to them, but "that wasn't the way you do business."

"If they make some type of gesture, it's better than nothing," he said with a shrug of his shoulders. "Sometimes we are holding prisoners on a petty charge, and are having to feed them and provide medical. We just can't keep doing it.

"We just need your support," he asked of the supervisors.

Supervisor Coleman said they would send a letter, and added the money would have to be collected to keep the correctional facility's budget in line.

The supervisors asked that County Administrator Adrian Brown, Board Attorney Linda Coleman and Taylor work together to craft the letters.

"We all understand about budgets, but they should be able to pay a little on their bills each month," Taylor said.

With the matter settled for the time being, Taylor said Ron Welch would soon come to inspect the facility. He also said prisoners were being feed for $2.40 a day in December, which is "within 10 cents of what it has been lately."

Supervisor James McBride also gave kudos to Grimmett and commended him for "no shoot outs" over New Year's. Grimmett explained he had doubled up on shifts for the weekend.

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