Overcrowding in Henry County jail costing taxpayers $554,000 more than expected

Extra money needed to cover cost of housing inmates at other jails

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Due to overcrowding at the jail, Henry County is currently housing 112 inmates at other area jails at a cost of $25 to $35 a day -- per inmate depending on the jail.

While money was allocated for this in the current budget, it is $554,000 less than what is needed.

Tuesday, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry asked county supervisors for the additional money to make up for the deficit -- and supervisors approved the request.

"We have a set of plans for a 400-bed facility that our county is moving along with building. Hopefully in the next year or so, we'll be going out to bid on that," said Perry.

In the mean time, inmates will have to continue to be housed at other jails.

"We've been trying to take advantage of every place that charges a reduced cost or will take them for free, but this years as we've gone on all we've had bed space for is the ones that charge $25 to $35 a day," Perry emphasized.

With that being the case, Perry could have to go before supervisors this time next year and ask for additional money yet again if the amount allocated in the upcoming fiscal year budget isn't enough.

Deputy Henry County Administrator Dale Wagoner believes it's going to be close.

 "Based on the trends over the last couple of months, it will be cutting that number real close so we're going to watch it and monitor it real closely," said Wagoner.

He said the county has contingencies built into the budget in case more money is needed.

Perry hopes to have the new jail completed sometime in 2020 or 2021.

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