Local News

Budget withholds funds for sheriff's offices

Posted August 11, 2009 6:23 p.m. EDT

The Wake County Sheriff's Office stands to lose about $600,000 annually in state funding, and that could mean challenges for the agency, Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Tuesday.

The new $19 billion state budget no longer requires the North Carolina Department of Correction to pay sheriff's offices $18 per day to house inmates serving 30- to 90-day sentences.

Harrison said that amounts to about $50,000 a month for Wake County.

He said he is not sure how his agency will absorb the impact of the loss of funding. The county is working with Harrison to find ways to make up the shortfall.

But Harrison said that letting prisoners out of jail early is not an option.

"We're going to put them in jail, and we're going to house them and we're going to do the best we can with what we got," Harrison said. "Are we going to have to cut somewhere else? Hopefully not. Hopefully, we'll find the money somewhere."

Meanwhile, Harrison said the cost of housing all inmates is increasing as their health care needs have increased dramatically.

The Wake County Detention Center houses as many as 1,400 inmates a day.