Bail funds have long presented a path to freedom. With Warren County Jail’s population on the rise, should an indigent fund be established to help poor inmates buy their freedom and reduce the population?
The facility was housing 287 inmates when the county’s Corrections Partnership Committee met to review the department and address several items of business last week.
“It looks like our numbers are up,” said Commissioner Steven Helton. “The state warned us about this. They said don’t get comfortable around that lower number. They are going to have fun in the summer and some will get in trouble.”
Of the 287 total inmates, 21 are considered state inmates, meaning they are eligible to be transferred to a state prison but are being held locally.
County Executive Jimmy Haley said some inmates are being held because they can’t afford bail and that other communities have taken steps to ease overcrowding and the cost to taxpayers.
“A lot of communities are setting up bail funds for those people who are sitting in jail because they can’t afford $50 and we’re paying $50 a day to keep them housed,” said Haley. “They have a $500 bond and can’t even make a $50 bail. It’s counterproductive. It would be a whole lot better to channel money into a fund that would accommodate people with bail and that would reduce our numbers as well.”
Commissioner Joseph Stotts asked Sheriff Tommy Myers how many inmates are being housed for violation of probation.
“The exact number I wouldn’t know off the top of my head, but many of them are probably VOPs,” said Myers.
No steps were taken to establishing an indigent fund to pay bail bonds for impoverished inmates.