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Morgan County increasing price of housing inmates at jail

Starting April 1, the price for housing an inmate from Falkville, Priceville, Somerville, Trinity, or Hartselle, will go from $23 per day, per inmate, to $31.

Posted: Jan 22, 2020 9:07 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 10:43 PM

It's about to get more expensive to hold inmates in the Morgan County Jail.

The Morgan County Commission recently approved a resolution authorizing an agreement between the county and multiple cities to increase the rate of housing municipal inmates. 

Starting April 1, the price for housing an inmate from Falkville, Priceville, Somerville, Trinity or Hartselle will go from $23 per day, per inmate, to $31. 

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says $8 price increase marks the first time Morgan County raised the price in 17 years. The Morgan County Commission signed off on the resolution, saying this has been long overdue, and the old price wasn't reflective of the times. 

"The price was set back when the jail moved across the street and the new facility was built, obviously that's been 17 almost 18 years," Mike Swafford with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office says.

Swafford says the cost of housing inmates is actually still more expensive than $31, but the price change is fair for everyone. 

"Using previous data, it showed the cost to house an inmate in the Morgan County Jail was $38.71, that compared to $23, there's a large gap there," Swafford told WAAY31. 

He says the sheriff's office used some savings methods to reduce the estimated cost from $38. Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long tells WAAY31 he is confident all the involved cities will agree to the price change. 

Swafford explains if a city decides the cost is too high, they are left with certain options: find a different jail to house their inmates, or potentially build a facility. He says the adjustment helps his team become more efficient. 

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says a number of factors, including payroll, cost of the facility, vests, and medical staff, play a role in determining the cost of housing one inmate.

Long says Decatur and Eva are on seperate deals not yet impacted by the increase. There is no clear timeline of when the others cities must decide to accept the new price.

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