WV Jail Costs

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It's an increasing problem that West Virginia lawmakers are trying to do something about -- regional jail costs and efforts to reduce officer overtime.

The daily fee to house inmates has dropped but the number of people arrested and behind bars has grown.

Legislation passed this year targets the state's inmate crowding crisis.

“In West Virginia we've been fortunate on one end, the daily cost of incarcerating an inmate in the regional jail has been decreasing; it's now down to I believe $48 or maybe less than that per day, whereas it used to be over $50,” says Delegate John Ellem, R-Wood County. “However, what's happening is you're seeing an increase in the number of people incarcerated or who can't make bond.”

The experimental hiring of extra staff at one jail cut monthly personnel costs there by $18,000.

Lawmakers expect up to $2 million in annual savings by expanding that effort.

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