As the Alabama state lawmakers are expected to discuss prison reform, we're taking a look at the 2015 Prison Reform Act's impacts on county sheriff's offices and jails.
"I don't think it was realized when the bill was passed, what kind of financial impact it would have on the counties," said Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims.
A report from the Association of County Commissions in Alabama agrees with Sheriff Sims.
They add the 2015 Prison Reform Act caused unintended financial impacts for sheriff's offices as they're forced to house more state inmates.
"It's an issue for every county right now and the state has a lot of decisions to make. They're in a rock and a hard place," said Sims.
Sims says right now, his jail is overcrowded. The jail is supposed to house 200 inmates, but they're housing 290. More than 60 of those are state inmates who haven't been picked up because of the pandemic.
According to the report, in Marshall County from 2014 to 2020, they saw a more than half a million dollar jump in costs to operate the jail.
"As a taxpayer, it does bother me that the offenders aren't being transported," said Steve Cook, Marshall County taxpayer.
Sims noted that pre-pandemic, they would typically house about 10 state inmates and the state was good about picking up those inmates within or around 30 days. A Marshall County Commission representative says their internal data on how many state inmates the jail housed doesn't go back before the act was passed, so it's hard to compare.