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Contract with Hancock County to house prisoners not affected by FEMA funds cut

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is cutting the amount of money per prisoner that it is giving to Hancock County to house prisoners, but that cut will not affect the contract that Hancock County has with Pearl River County.

FEMA said last week that it will no longer pay Hancock County the $30 per prisoner per day that it has been paying the county to house prisoners. Instead, FEMA is cutting the amount it will pay Hancock County to $18 per prisoner per day because FEMA says that Hancock County would be paying the remaining amount to house the prisoners if they could house them in their own jail.

Hancock County has been paying Pearl River County $30 per prisoner per day to house their male prisoners at the Pearl River County Jail and their female prisoners at Stone County Jail as part of a contract with Pearl River County Jail.

In a phone interview last week, Hancock County Administrator Tim Kellar said, “(FEMA’s decision) should not have any effect on our contract (with Pearl River County). … FEMA has agreed to pay half. They just looked at what we would be paying if there wasn’t a hurricane.”

Kellar said Hancock County would continue to pay the contracted amount of $30 per day to house the prisoners.

When asked about the renewed contract rate of $35 per prisoner per day, Kellar said he knew that there had been discussion of raising the daily amount, but he was unaware of a new contract being sent to Hancock County.

In a phone interview last week, Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said that Pearl River County had signed a contract at a rate of $35 per day, and that it was forwarded to Hancock County for approval more than two weeks ago.

“There’s no reason he shouldn’t know about it unless it just hasn’t got there. It’s been mailed a couple of weeks. We had to increase (the daily rate) because of the medical care we provide to prisoners at the jail,” Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said unless more renegotiation is needed, the cost will remain at the rate $35 dollars per prisoner per day.