Prisoner price tag increases at Hancock County Jail - CBS 5 - KPHO

Prisoner price tag increases at Hancock County Jail

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HANCOCK COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Starting next month, the Hancock County Jail is increasing the price for prisoners, using money from taxpayers.

With every arrest comes a price tag, and that's not just the case for the person committing the crime. Findlay police say housing inmates in jail is going to take a big chunk out of their budget this year.

"No, we did not plan on this. We didn't budget for it," said Chief Greg Horne with the Findlay Police Department.

Findlay police say in March, paying for "room and board" in the Hancock County Jail is going up from $55 a day to $84.

"My jail costs will go from what we budget last year, this year, $600,000 to about $1.2 million. So it is quite an increase," said Horne.

County commissioners voted in favor of that increase, saying costs at the jail have not gone up since 1989, which means the county has been footing the bill for inflation. The goal now is to get the city to start paying the difference.

Police say despite the higher bill, this will not affect their decision on whether or not to put a law breaker behind bars.

"We really don't want to put a monetary value on keeping the city safe. We hope that our officers continue to do the same great work they always have," said Captain Sean Young with the Findlay Police Department.

One cost-saving effort they're hoping to see more of this year is Findlay's "WORC" program.

"It's an alternative to incarceration in the jail," explained Dave Spidgeon, a probation officer.

"WORC" allows offenders charged with nonviolent crimes, such as OVI or backpay on child support, to work outside of jail while serving their time.

"The environment that we live in today, it has to be a better alternative, because the prisons are full, the jails are always full. This gives people a chance to lead somewhat of a normal life, but still pay their penance to their community," said Spidgeon.

For $25 a day, "residents" pay for the privilege of going to work, then checking back into the facility.

With just 15 to 20 people currently in "WORC," police hope the program will expand in 2014, taking some of the burden off the city, as well as opening space in the jail for offenders that need to be there.

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