DeSoto Sheriff To Charge Cities More for Jail Inmates

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(Hernando, MS) DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco says running a jail isn’t cheap.

"It costs $41.58 a day to house an inmate in this facility.”

That’s 41 bucks a day times 360 at the moment.

Rasco says all that money goes to keeping the inmates behind bars and safe under Federal law.

”They have to be treated like individuals, so that’s the reason we have to feed ‘em three meals a day, furnish ‘em medications and make sure we have a doctor and nurse on staff.”

Right now, the cities that send inmates to the jail only pay about half what it costs to keep them.

Sheriff Rasco says he needs the cities to kick in $25 apiece by the beginning of the year, and $30 by 2015.

Years ago when this issue came up, DeSoto County city leaders went ballistic and made claims of “double taxation."

Most observers expect a very different story this time.

That’s because the cities have found a way to pay for it, though city leaders admit it’s not perfect.

”Those fees can be charged back to the guilty parties. The problem for the cities is many times the guilty parties are not able to pay," said Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer.

That means they’re setting aside more from taxpayers to cover the difference.

Latimer, a former DeSoto County Supervisor, admits cities have few options.

"You definitely want your lawbreakers where they need to be, out-of-the-way of the law-abiding citizens.”

Most say they may not like the jail fee increase, but they’ll pay it.

Sheriff Rasco says it’s cheaper for cities to pay him than to run their own jails, ”They gonna have the same problems I’ve got if they house their own inmates, yes sir.”

And he says it’s not getting any less expensive.