Blog Posts > Crowded Jails Costing Counties More Than They can Pay
January 30, 2021

Crowded Jails Costing Counties More Than They can Pay

Charleston Gazette-Mail – West Virginia is incarcerating more people than its regional jail system is meant to hold, and it is costing some county governments more money than they can pay. Read the full article.

At least 10 counties in West Virginia are more than 90 days past due on a combined $9 million in jail bills, according to the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security. That agency covers the balance with taxpayer money when payments come up short.

From 2000 to 2019, West Virginia’s jail population increased by 81% according to a report by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. That follows a longer national trend, Quenton King, criminal justice policy analyst for the center, wrote in the report.

“As counties look for ways to pay for needed investments in public services that could aid residents and businesses, there are few discussions about reducing the jail population despite the rising costs of incarceration,” King said.

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