Washington Co. Offsets Costs Through Daily Jail Fee

Friday, April 7th 2017, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

One Oklahoma jail says Tulsa County isn't the only jail trying to figure out how to pay for inmates.

According to Washington County Undersheriff Steve Johnson, around 99% of inmates are required to pay the daily jail fees.

"Money is what makes the ship go,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the majority of inmates have been required to pay $38 in incarceration fees since 2009. But he stated that doesn't mean the sheriff's office is rolling in cash.

"There's about $5 million worth of uncollected incarceration fees outstanding right now,” he explained.

That's because most inmates don't literally pay $38 each day. They set up a payment plan to pay all their fines and fees little by little; the daily jail fee is just one of those.

"The money that we receive does not make us flush with cash,” he added.

Regardless, Johnson says every little bit helps. He said the money helps pay for commissary items, clothing, food, and more.

"It is exceedingly helpful to have that money coming in,” he stated. “It's a small amount like we said, but nonetheless, it is an amount that helps us keep going down the road."

Johnson said that $38 dollars still doesn't cover it all. It costs between $53-$57 per inmate each day.

He wants the public to know, they're spending their money as wisely as possible.

"Money is a tough topic to talk about,” said Johnson. “We all know that. It's getting harder and harder, not just for sheriff's offices, but lots of places to meet the bills just because of the expenses that are involved."

And right now, their expenses are through the roof with the Washington County Jail being virtually at full capacity.