Missouri slow to pay counties for housing prisoners

JOPLIN, Mo. – Many Missouri counties won’t be reimbursed for state prisoners housed in their jails until 2018.

The Joplin Globe reports that the Legislature set aside about $40 million for the reimbursement program this year. But the state ran out of the allocated money catching up with back payments before the end of the fiscal quarter.

County officials say delays in reimbursement have made their budget problems more difficult.

Counties already pay a majority of prisoner housing costs. The County Commissioners Association of Missouri says housing an inmate costs about $45 a day. The state paid less than $21 a day last year.

Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. State officials say faulty, duplicate and late requests have slowed the repayment process.

Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com