CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - A bill could soon give more money to parish jails for housing state inmates. But, will the $4 increase be enough?
“Do I think the $4 is important? Yes, (but) it should be a lot more. We should at least be able to recoup the money we spend," Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said.
Right now, the state pays local sheriff’s offices $24.39 a day per inmate, that number could soon go up to $28.39 if House Bill 551 is passed.
“We know that it costs us almost $40 a day, the state it actually costs $60 a day. Even if they were paying us what it cost us, they’d still be saving about $20 a day for us to house their prisoners," Mancuso said.
Mancuso said because these funds aren’t met by the Department of Corrections’ reimbursements, he has to budget accordingly. He said he believes there’s no additional consequence to taxpayers for the shortfall.
“How you look at it it’s still taxpayers’ money. Whether it’s coming out of state funds, or our local funds, we all pay state, federal and local taxes. So, you can’t say ‘oh it’s costing the taxpayer-’ it costs us, the taxpayers to incarcerate somebody regardless," Mancuso said.
It’s an issue Mancuso said has been ongoing for years, but one he’ll deal with in order to ensure public safety.
“I don’t think they’ll pay us the $38 we would like, as far as— me as a local sheriff. The other side of it is we either house them for that cost, or let them go, and we can’t do that," Mancuso said.
However, he said he believes the proposal of an increase is a step in the right direction.
“Anything we would get would help. And, so, I’m confident the sheriff’s association will work hard to get the best we can for what we do," Mancuso said.
The bill is currently pending approval by the House Appropriations Committee.