Bryan County Commissioners want state inmates gone

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BRYAN COUNTY,OK -- A debate over whether state inmates should be held in state prisons or county jails has reached the state capital.

Sheriff's from across the state met at the capitol tuesday to voice their disagreement with the plan to remove state inmates from county jails, but Bryan county commissioner, Monty Montgomery says it's a great idea, because it's costing taxpayers thirteen extra dollars per state inmate per day.

"Counties cannot be forced to pay the difference of between what they are reimbursed from the state and what the actual costs are to keep those inmates." said Montgomery.

Many of the sheriffs say they rely on the $27 daily per-prisoner reimbursement for jail operating costs and other expenses and they say they might have to cut jobs if the state inmates are removed from their jails.

Montgomery says that's not the case in Bryan County.

"It costs us forty dollars a day to keep an inmate in our jail, it matters not if it's a state inmate, or a county inmate, or a city inmate an inmate is an inmate....the tax payers have to make up that difference and I don't think we should, well I know that we shouldn be able to do it, because that's what the Oklahoma constitution says." said Montgomery.

Lieutenant Kristy Toombs says housing the state inmates can lead to overcrowding.

"We've had that but we've dealt with the issue and we've made deals with other counties to help hold our inmates at that time." said Toombs.

Bryan County Sheriff Ken Golden was in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He spoke to us by phone saying he doesn't know how the removal of state prisoners would affect his jail's day to day operations.

But Montgomery says if the state doesn't remove DOC inmates the county can't house misdemeanor offenders because there's no room; leaving them out on the streets.

He hopes the state can come up with a solution that works for everyone.

"It's not a number as long as they keep those numbers low enough where we have enough room in our own county jail to take care of our own needs." said Montgomery.

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