MO lawmakers focus in on reimbursing counties for housing state inmates

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“It’s more than $40 million throughout the state,” explained Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser.

…A price tag that will be in the spotlight in Jefferson City.

Lawmakers will be discussing what can be done to pay off that debt.

“The problem is they’ve fallen behind in reimbursement to counties–not just Jasper County, but almost every county in the state of Missouri,” Kaiser added.

In Jasper County alone, the state owes more than half-a-million dollars for inmate housing.

“About $22.58 perday–the cost, obviously, to house that person is a lot more,” Kaiser continued.

“Over the years, we have not kept up with that obligation to the counties,” said Missouri State Representative Cody Smith.

A public hearing Tuesday will focus on the growing debt and how to tackle it.

That is expected to include testimony from sheriffs and county commissioners around the state who want to see the bill paid.

“This money has been promised to the counties,” said Kaiser.

“I believe very strongly that we need to take steps to slow the bleeding, so to speak, to reduce the amount we’re going behind with in the counties,” Smith added.

..And, of course, how to settle the debt that’s already owed.

Missouri is the only state in the Union where the state pays individual counties for housing inmates.

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