Lamar Co. Jail to raise inmate housing cost per day

Lamar Co. Jail to raise inmate housing cost per day
The Lamar County Jail is raising the cost they charge other municipalities and counties per day for housing inmates. Photo cred: WDAM

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County Jail is raising the cost it charges other municipalities and counties per day for housing inmates.

The daily rate is currently $20, but the board of supervisors voted 5-0 to approve an increase to $30.

"Well, we were looking at the entire operating cost of the sheriff's office and the jail, for the upcoming budget, and we realized that we were charging the lowest rate around for the surrounding counties for the inmates being held for municipalities in the Lamar County Jail," said Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel. "We were charging $20 a day, they approved to go up to $30 a day, and it will help our operating cost, lower those a little bit."

Rigel said the increase is something that will help with the overall cost of the jail.

"Even at $30 a day, that's not as high as some other counties are charging," Rigel said.

One of the highest around is the Forrest County Jail, which charges $40 a day.

Jail inmate cost per day:
  • Forrest County $40.00
  • Jones County - $25.00
  • Marion County- $35.00 (starting October 1)
  • Lauderdale County- $38.00
  • Perry County- $30.00
  • Covington County- $30.00 for first day, $25.00 every day after
  • Pearl River County- $20.00

"It may be a small amount, but the small amount we are asking for is not going to hurt any municipality," Rigel said. "Mainly, it will affect the four municipalities that house prisoners in the Lamar County Jail: Hattiesburg, Sumrall, Lumberton and Purvis."

According to Rigel, even the $30 is roughly a third of what it costs to house an inmate.

"There's a lot to house an inmate, I guess it's probably $90 a day per inmate," Rigel said. "The $30 or the $20 we used to charge, you've got to feed them, you've got to give them medical treatment, you've got the utilities at the jail, we're a 164-bed facility so it's a medium size jail."

The money received by the county goes to the general fund for the county, not directly to the sheriff's department.

"We present a budget, a proposed budget for the board of supervisors to approve every year, and we always do some tweaking," Rigel said. "It's a give and take type thing, but the increase, it will certainly help with the overall cost of running the jail."

The change in price for the Lamar County Jail will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2017.