If the Missouri legislature approves it, Missouri counties will lose their reimbursement for state prisoners.
Sheriff Jimmy Shinn reported on the Budget Committee meeting he attended in Jefferson City to the Marion County Commission during their meeting Monday, at which they also heard bridge updates, approved having the county be used to hold a grant, learned about a job training opportunity and approved the utility ordinance.
According to Shinn the Budget Committee’s rhetoric is to completely cut out reimbursements to the counties for holding state prisoners.
“These are all-pre-sentencing prisoners,” Shinn said. “They are charged with state crimes, prosecuted by state prosecutors and sentenced by state judges. They are not county prisoners.”
While the state’s new “catch and release” law which puts multiple offenders back on the streets quickly, has meant Marion County’s prisoner county has gone down to about 77 from around 105 average, it is not working either, Shinn said.
“We are arresting them, they are being released, and then we are arresting them again on either the same type of crime or something different,” he said. “This law is not protecting you and I.”
Shinn said the proponents of the measure said they had polled all 50 states and the 30 which had responded said they did not reimburse for pre-conviction prisoners.
“What they fail to say is those prisons are already state-run prisons, so one way or another, the state is paying for it,” Shinn said.
He also noted under state law it is not allowed for the county to ask the prisoners to reimburse the county for their incarceration.
“Now, we have to sue them in Civil Court if we want reimbursed,” Shinn said. “I’m telling you it’s going to get ugly the next few months.”
See more in this week's Palmyra Spectator.