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How much does it cost to house inmates at the Richland County jail?

According to council agenda documents, this has been a topic of conversation since May.

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — On Thursday night, Richland County Council's Administration and Finance Committee met to discuss how much it should cost to house detainees and inmates, including those from other jurisdictions.

The council has been working to establish a per diem rate in the Alvin S. Glenn jail since May. 

According to council agenda documents, this has been in conversation for the last seven months. The jail started renovating last month. 

"The kitchen to other interior rooms, such as units that are there that are housing units. Everything from showers to lighting to cameras, but pretty much again, the entire facility," Leonardo Brown, Richland County administrator said. "We're going to be continuing to make updates and renovations at the detention center, which will affect the overall per diem rates that we're going to be charging for detainees being housed there."

Brown tells News 19 the rate is changing due to higher prices across the board. 

"There's been inflation in everything and so we want to make sure that that inflation to a certain degree is captured in the per diem rates," Brown said.

According to councilman Bill Malinowski, who made this motion to look at per diem rates, the county has been, "... losing thousands of dollars per year the way this is being handled."

In today's agenda, it outlines that the jail is operating on fees implemented effective on July 1, 2018, but that those fees didn't go into effect until July 1, 2019 due to the 90 day notice requirement in the agreement. 

That fee would have increased $10 between those years, and every year after until it reached 95% of the actual cost to the county. 

In the new per diem rate, Malinowski suggests the annual agreement needs to have a specified number of extension years and the 90 day notice needs to be reduced or followed more closely by staff.

According to Richland County's administrator, council won't decide on a final new per diem rate for the jail until all renovations are complete. Then council will share the new rate with other jurisdictions so they can prepare budgets.

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