NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Operating a jail can be expensive, with each incarcerated inmate adding to the cost paid by law enforcement and taxpayers. Today, the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office requested to apply for a grant that would help with some of that cost.
“We are eligible to receive reimbursements in connection with undocumented aliens who have been convicted of at least one felony or two misdemeanors and who were incarcerated under the legal authority of the applicant government,” said county auditor Jessica Corley.
The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) offers assistance to local governments for the cost associated with incarcerating undocumented inmates. Funds are awarded by determining factors like cost per inmate or average officer salary costs.
“The last reimbursement we received was for 2017," Corley said. "We received $13,000 and after we paid the third-party contract administrator, we netted $10,000.”
Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said it’s an intricate process, with government agencies verifying inmate information.
“We’ll contact I.C.E. or Homeland Security," Bridges said. "They’ll do research to see if a person is illegal or undocumented.”
Bridges says he’s anticipating a similar reimbursement for 2018.
“It depends on if there’s an influx or not," he said. "What we’re looking at right now is usually around that range.”
According to the Department of Justice, most jurisdictions use funds on correctional purposes, including jail maintenance costs.
“That will come back into the county fund, and then that funding is scheduled for the next year’s budget, and it’s used for jail purposes to help maintain the jail,” Bridges said.
The Department of Justice reported over $200 million was available for funding in 2018, roughly 10 percent more than what they distributed the year before.