Texas Sheriff's Office Say Taxpayers Paying Too Much for Prisoners
Blue Warrant Detainees Costing Taxpayers
The Sheriff's Association of Texas is battling with legislators over an issue costing Texas taxpayers. "All that time, we're having to house them in the jail, we feed them, clothe them, pay their medical expenses until the parole board decides what they want to do with them," said Sheriff David McKnight. McKnight says holding those blue warrant violators is costing local tax payers, but the inmates aren't in jail for criminal offenses. "Blue warrants are basically an administrative violation of parole, which means, normally, they didn't stay in contact with the parole division or their parole officer."
That's when sheriff's deputies are ordered put the parole violator in jail, without bail or reimbursement, leaving you to pay the bill. Sheriff's offices in the area say county tax payers should only be responsible for housing county inmates, and the state should be footing the bill for blue warrants because they are inmates of the state. McKnight sad, "Either give them the option to post bond and get out of jail, or after a certain amount of time the state will pay for the upkeep of the prisoner." Right now in Marion County there are at least two blue warrant inmates in jail. But every county jail in the state of Texas may have a blue warrant detainee and sheriff's across the state say, it's getting too expensive. "Hopefully this will pass legislature this year and we'll get something changed. It will allow people to get picked up and dealt with and not be a burden to the county like it is now."
A blue warrant inmate could cost taxpayers about $30 a day. That's almost $1000 a month for the inmate, and $6000 dollars if they're in jail for half a year. An inmate in Harrison County runs the taxpayers about 35 dollars a day. Last week, Harrison County had 9 blue warrant inmates. Those inmates have spent a total 936 days in the Harrison County jail, costing the county more than $32,000.
The Sheriff's Association of Texas is hoping lawmakers can resolve this issue in this legislative session.