JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Correction is running out of reimbursement money to pay county jails to house state inmates.
The ADC already owes counties more than $5.8 million for housing state inmates in county jails from July to September.Now the state only can pay about $750,000 per month. There are nearly 2,400 state inmates being held in county jails.
"That money is pretty much going to be depleted at the end of this month," said Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd.
The state owes Craighead County about $140,000. On average, the detention center takes in about 95 state inmates a month.
"We've been up as high as 110 and I think the lowest we've been is 85," Boyd told Region 8 News.
Arkansas Department of Corrections reimburses the county jails at $28 a day, but the detention center gets $45 a day to house local inmates.
"When we're holding someone at $28 a day and we can't accept anyone in that means we're not getting our $45 rate also," he said.
The state inmates contribute to the overcrowding taking place in county jails across the state. At one point, The Detention Center had to close their doors to misdemeanors offenses. And now statewide, the backlog is 2600 inmates.
"I think we will eventually get paid but unfortunately it could be June or July next year before we see any reimbursement and this is just the start of it," Boyd said.
He said losing that money hurts their yearly budget. They are unable to search for people wanted on misdemeanor warrants because they don't have the bed space. And Boyd said turning them away is not an option.
"Last thing I want to do is turn any prisoner loose who has been sentenced to jail or needs to be in jail and has committed a crime," he said.
Boyd said they are trying to control the jail population by using the work release program and referring inmates to the diversion courts. He met with state officials last week to discuss the status of the reimbursement money. He was told there is additional money available.
"Seven million dollars in schedule B and that money cannot be touched until June or July," he said.
The Craighead County Detention Center generally hold state inmates for about 6 months. Some inmates end up serving most of their sentence in the county jails. About 25 percent of county jail beds statewide are being used to hold state prisoners.