Jefferson County Sheriff reaches deal to house out-of-state inma - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Jefferson County Sheriff reaches deal to house out-of-state inmates

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JEFFERSON COUNTY -- Out-of-state inmates will soon be housed in the Jefferson County Jail following a new agreement with a county in Indiana.

The jail has room for 249 inmates, and with in-county inmates usually only filling between 70 and 100 spots, Sheriff Travis Allen says more than half the beds can go unfilled, leaving the department with hefty bills.

“It’s been a nightmare on the taxpayers here ever since it was built,” Allen said. “Property taxes in Jefferson county are so high that people can’t even afford to build homes, so we’re trying to find other ways to pay for it.”

Hoping to lower the burden on taxpayers, the department reached an agreement with Vanderburgh County in Indiana to house their excess non-violent inmates.

“Big buildings come with big costs,” Allen said. “These inmates help offset that.”

Allen says the partnership is expected to bring in more than $600,000 per year in revenue for the county, and could grow higher depending on the number of inmates brought over.

He adds the department could also add jobs if necessary.

“If at the end of the day we can make some money for the county and create jobs I think that’s wonderful,” Allen said.

The jail already has deals in place with Perry County and Cook County. Combined with the new agreement, the revenue generated is expected to cover more than $1.3 million of the jail’s $2.3 million operating expenses.

Something Allen says is good news for taxpayers.

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