West Virginia Watch, Cumberland Times-News – Millions of dollars will be released to county commissions across the state by the end of this year as part of their share of opioid settlement funds, and now local leaders are grappling with a tough decision: whether or not to use the influx of cash to get ahead on burdensome jail bills.
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Jail bills are charged to each county annually. The total amount charged depends on the number of incarcerated people from each locality that are being held in regional jails. In 2022, jail bills cost the state’s 55 counties a total of $45 million, with many local governments listing the charge as their largest annual expense.
“Every year the jail bills are overwhelming for every county, that’s all there is to it,” said Dutch Staggs, who sits on the Mineral County Commission. “We’ve been fortunate enough that our jail bill has been down recently, but I know that isn’t always going to be the case. It’s a burden and a big one.”