Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 22, 2013

W.Va. lawmakers eye jail inmate, staffing costs

Associated Press

CHARLESTON — West Virginia lawmakers are hoping for more details about regional jail costs and efforts to reduce officer overtime.

A House-Senate oversight committee quizzed agency Director Joe DeLong on Monday about the daily fees paid by counties to house inmates in the state-run jails.

Senate Co-Chair Bill Laird said fee costs are threatening funding for libraries and special projects in the counties he represents.

DeLong said the daily fee has dropped in recent years, but the number of people arrested and put behind bars has grown. DeLong cited legislation passed this year targeting the state’s inmate crowding crisis.

DeLong also said the experimental hiring of extra staff at one jail cut monthly personnel costs there by $18,000. He expects up to $2 million in annual savings by expanding that effort.