Costs to house inmates in Virginia on the rise

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RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – A report from the State Capitol shows the daily cost of housing an inmate in county jails in the Commonwealth has increased in the last year.

On average, cities and counties spent about $87 per day to house an inmate.

Across the Commonwealth, the total expenditures (including capital costs) reported to house inmates in local and regional jails and jail farms in fiscal year 2017 were $990.1 million.

Virginia localities contributed $571.2 million to their jails and jail farms (including debt service obligations) and an additional $13.3 million to house inmates at other jurisdictions.

The Compensation Board provided funding of $356 million with other state agencies providing an additional $2.5 million, primarily in grant funding.

The average operating costs per inmate day for the Northern region in the Commonwealth was at the highest rate at $127.32. The Eastern region’s costs were at $82.89. The Central region was at $72.35 and the Western region was at $67.00.

Northern Virginia had the highest costs topping out at more than $230 per day at the Fairfax County Jail.

WFXR News did some digging and found inmate housing costs in our region varied widely with Patrick County having the lowest cost at just over $50 per day, while costs at the Botetourt County Jail were just shy of $140 per day.

Federal grant money and state funding helped to pay for a portion of these costs.

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