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West Virgina Regional Jail Authority Meeting Held In Doddridge County
Written by Andrew Havranek
Last updated on July 17, 2014 @ 7:15PM
Created on July 17, 2014 @ 7:12PM

The state's regional jail authority has been holding meetings across the state to discuss costs and services with local officials.

Officials from our local counties and from the regional jail system held an open discussion Thursday to discuss costs of operating the local jail, as well as different challenges both face in the next year.

"I don't care whether its $10, or $110, or $100,010, if I can do that for $9 or $8 instead of $10, I will find a way to do it," said Eldon Callen, Monongalia County Commissioner

That is what local law enforcement officials are saying to the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority, who is holding meetings at all regional jails across The Mountain State.

These meetings are both a presentation of what has been going on with the regional jail system as a whole as well as each individual jail.

The meeting also allows local county and city officials that utilize the regional jail to express concerns that each county and municipality have, specially dealing with cost.

"The majority of the meeting is wrapping up with their concerns, their ideas, hearing back from the community, and really learning here and finding out how we can serve them better," said Joe DeLong, Executive Director of the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority.

This year, the Regional Jail Authority is expecting an average daily inmate population of around 4,000, at a cost of about $50 per day, which officials say is one of the cheapest in the nation.

"We incarcerate at under $50 a day, it's really one of the best rates in the country. We probably have one of the most efficient, low-cost jail systems that exist anywhere in the nation, and statistics bear that," DeLong said.

The problem, however, is the amount of inmates that counties and cities have to pay for every day.

So, we continue to look at ways, not only to be more efficient in how we incarcerate, but also on how we can be more efficient in assisting the courts to get people through the system more quickly and what we can do when people are here to take the necessary steps to keep them from coming back," DeLong added.

Warren Davis, the Harrison County Magistrate, says even though this is the first meeting for the regional jail system he has attended, he feels they are beneficial, as both the counties and the jails need to work together to find the best option to work together more efficiently.

"They need to be funded too. the jails need to be funded too and its kind of a cost-cutting thing to try to figure out, to be beneficial to both sides, to both the regional jail and to each county," Davis said.

The jail authority has plans to continue meetings at all regional jails through November.

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