Inmates now pay for stay

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

Inmates at the Lawrence County Jail began paying fees Tuesday for their stay.

Friday, August 04, 2000

Inmates at the Lawrence County Jail began paying fees Tuesday for their stay.

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County commissioners reported Thursday that Intellitech – a company that manages "pay-for-stay" programs around the state – had installed equipment and jailers have begun the collection program.

During the last three days, the jail has collected about $300 in daily fees from inmates.

"It’s going good and I think it will continue to go that way," said Brian Deer, jail administrator.

In general, the plan uses Intellitech forms when prisoners are booked, which alert them to the fee, the first collection measure. Other times during their stay and at release, inmates are asked for the fee. Computer systems track the activity.

If the county collects at any time while prisoners are at the jail, it receives 70 percent of the fees. Intellitech would receive 30 percent of the fees.

If Intellitech collects fees after an inmate is released, the company receives 70 percent of the fee and the county gets 30 percent.

The exact fee scale, a payment of booking and then a per-day charge, has not been set but fees could average about $50 per inmate for a several day stay, Sheriff Roy Smith said.

Commissioners have favored the inmate fee plan since earlier this year when Intellitech presented a proposed contract on pay-for-stay.

The county favors the fee collection because of increasing costs of jail operation, which are funded from the county general fund, they said.

Right now, the county receives no reimbursement for footing the bill on prisoners’ jail time.

The taxpayer takes care of the entire bill, so if the county recovers any of the cost, whether it’s 70 percent or 30 percent of the fees charged, then taxpayers benefit, commission president Bruce Trent said.

After discussing a contract matter with Deer, commissioners asked the administrator to work with the county auditor’s and county treasurer’s offices to establish an "audit trail" so funds could be properly tracked.

Money from the fees would enter a separate account but no plans on its use have been discussed.