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Waller: Jail better than PRC

Sherif Larry Waller’s budget has taken a hit and his jail is aging but he still likes his current home better than the option of taking over the Lamar Pre-Release Center now being mothballed by the Department of Corrections. Fewer out-of-county inmates and a prisoner who was hospitalized after he was beaten up by two juvenile inmates, resulting in a $12,000 bill, have helped put a dent in Lamar County’s budget just three months into the year. Out-of-county inmates have been pulled out of the jail due to other counties’ budget issues. Lamar charges $35 a day per inmate. On April 6, the inmate count was 81, with 61 from Lamar County. ’We generally hold between 60 and 70 local inmates,’ said Waller. ‘The jail can house up to 150 so we have 69 vacant beds. Other counties can’t afford the cost now. There’s also a privately run jail in Irwinton that’s highly competitive.’ Waller said it would be more efficient to repair the roof, replace the heating and air conditioning and redo the locks on the existing jail than buy the newer facility from the state.

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