CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Per-diem rates to house inmates in West Virginia's 10 regional jails will drop by 55 cents next year, thanks to some creative accounting.
On Thursday, the state Regional Jail Authority unanimously approved cutting the jail per-diem rate from $48.80 to $48.25, beginning July 1, 2013.
Authority executive director Joe DeLong said that reduction will save counties at least $516,000 in the next budget year, as well as saving at least $381,000 for the Division of Corrections to house prison inmates in the jails.
"What this will do is put $516,000 back in the pockets of counties," he said.
With jail overcrowding projected to continue to increase next year, the 55-cent cut could produce actual overall savings closer to $1 million, he said.
However, DeLong had to bend the law a little to come up with the cut.
Under the law, the Authority is to take the budgeted operating expenses for the coming budget year ($87.54 million) and divide it by the current year's average daily inmate population at the 10 jails.
That calculation technically would have required the authority to increase the daily rate to $51.62 -- even though the authority finished the 2011-12 budget year on June 30 with a $11.3 million surplus, because of overcrowding.