Lancaster is the only county in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula that isn’t a member of a regional jail. And although its county jail has the fourth highest costs in the state, Lancaster’s leadership believes they’re doing what’s best for the people.
Costs of Lancaster County Jail
Northumberland, Westmoreland and Richmond County are members of Northern Neck Regional Jail and don’t pay anything to house their inmates because the facility operates on state and federal funds.
Last year, Lancaster spent an average of $185.58 per inmate per day, more than double the statewide average of $87.20, according to the latest Jail Cost Report. About half of the jail’s $1.31 million budget was paid by the state and Lancaster taxpayers paid the remaining 51 percent.
Sheriff Patrick McCranie said the numbers in the state’s report are skewed. But added that “law enforcement is a great unknown,” which makes managing costs a challenge.
Medical costs, particularly mental health expenses, are one uncontrollable factor that drives up the jail’s costs. Another is Lancaster’s practice of paying county-funded and state-funded officers equally. Virginia pays for a select number of the county’s police officers but Lancaster is responsible for paying the rest of the force. When the state gives raises or bonuses, in the sake of fairness, the county ensures the other officers receive the same.
For the full article, pick up the latest Northern Neck News 1/8/20