The Genesee County Legislature approved more than $200,000 in additional funding for the county jail. YNN's Rose Eiklor has more on why the money was needed.
The number of female inmates entering the Genesee County Jail has nearly doubled over the past year.
The jail superintendent says the money was needed to cover their costs. The additional $205,000 approved by the legislature came from refunds from previous years and video lottery terminals, or VLTs.
Since the jail is not set up up to house female inmates, jail superintendent Ed Minardo says they transport them to other county jails. However, Genesee County is still responsible for paying for the housing of that inmate.
"It costs us approximately $85 a day to board a female out. Translated into annual costs, for one female, it's about $31,000 a year. With the increase from nine to 16 that we have right now, we are talking about a couple hundred thousand dollars additional expenditure," said Minardo.
But its not only the cost of boarding that is becoming a problem. Normally, females are housed in Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Minardo said that recently due to a scarcity of bed space, female inmates are being sent to Ontario and Allegany counties. They are even looking into Steuben and Wayne counties for future possibilities. He said the distance is becoming a problem.
"The amount of time and resources that it takes to transport our female population further and further distances. That's handled by our road patrol and when we are talking about Steuben and Wayne County, a round trip might be two to two and a half hours," said Minardo.
Minardo said the jail usually requests $250,000 to $300,000 a year to help house the females, but he said this year since they needed more.
A criminal justice advisory council which includes representatives from all criminal justice and social services agencies in the county is evaluating what options will be available to the jail to keep this from happening in the future.
"Anywhere from additional expenditures on an annual basis, to perhaps adding on to the jail which would be difficult because as you can see we are somewhat landlocked, versus the other option which is looking into the feasibility of another jail," said Minardo.
Minardo says one of the reasons for the increase in inmates is because more women are being arrested under Leandra's Law, which makes it a felony to drink and drive with a minor in the vehicle.