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State Owes Counties Over $35 Million for Holding, Transporting State Prisoners

Graphic of a gavel.

The state owes county jails throughout Missouri more than $35 million, creating financial hardships and crowding issues.

The Missouri Department of Corrections is responsible for reimbursing county jails for costs associated with holding and transporting state prisoners. In recent years, however, the state’s budget for reimbursements has not kept up with the the amount it owes, resulting in millions of dollars of unpaid services and conversations about possible solutions.

There are three types of reimbursements a county can request from the state, according to Missouri House Bill 9. These include costs associated with transporting prisoners from local jails to state prisons, transporting extradited offenders back to Missouri and housing prisoners who are eventually sentenced to state incarceration.

Of the three categories, debt accrued from holding state prisoners in local jails is the most egregious, accounting for 93% of the state’s $35,010,247 bill.

In 2019, the Missouri budget allocated over $44 million from the state’s general revenue fund, which is generated by Missouri taxpayers, for reimbursements to county jails. Some local officials say the budget is still not meeting their demands.

To read more, visit our partners at the Columbia Missourian.