MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission will discuss today the cost of expanding the county's prisoner home confinement program in an effort to cut the cost of jail bills.
The Eastern Regional Jail budget for the 2002-2003 fiscal year exceeds $2 million, an increase of more than $250,000 from last year, according to Howard Strauss, president of the Berkeley County Commission.
Increasing the number of those monitored during home confinement could save the county more than $500,000 a year, he said.
Each county served by the jail - Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan - pays about $45 per prisoner per night at the jail.
The home confinement program is designed to make the individual pay. The three counties would establish a fee.
Only those involved in misdemeanor offenses and nonviolent crimes are eligible for the program.
"It makes crime pay for itself," Berkeley County Sheriff Randy W. Smith said.
Smith said he approached the commission about the home confinement program designed by the Boulder, Colo., company Behavioral Interventions because it is a way to save money and it works.