Housing Criminals

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

Keeping criminals off the street costs a lot of money. It's a problem for at least one Valley community, where things may get better, soon.

Most Waynesboro prisoners are kept in the Augusta County Jail.

With the city getting fewer beds than the other localities and an overpopulation problem, it has to rent bed space elsewhere.

"It's a cost we as society pay in order to keep bad people off the streets and out of the community," said Doug Walker, Waynesboro's city manager.

Those costs add up.

"The price per prisoner per day ranges from $22.50 to $35 and it really depends on where the available space is and obviously we try to put them in the cheapest place possible," Walker explained.

Even the cheapest price tag is increasing every year. There is a $150,000 increase in this year's proposed budget.

"We are hoping that some of those costs can be mitigated by bringing them back in-house with the new jail," Walker said.

With the new regional jail in Verona slated to open early next year- that will mean almost double the bed space.

That may mean putting some money in the bank by housing criminals behind bars.

According to Walker, "to the extent that we have more capacity than we have demand, we might be able to rent space to other facilities which would being some additional revenue."

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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