North Carolina Sheriff’s Plan to Keep Inmates Out of Jail Saved County Nearly $ 5 Million


WILMINGTON, North Carolina (WECT) – People end up in prison for a number of reasons, from serious crimes like murder to less serious offenses like petty theft or even traffic violations. But what about people who are jailed simply because they cannot afford to pay bail and have yet to be convicted of a crime?

It’s something New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon has been working to resolve for years, and the program is making serious headway, he says.

In 2017, the ministry hired an inmate population manager. This person’s job is to make sure that only those people who need to be kept out of the community are in jail.

The program has been in operation for several years now, but it was started to prevent non-violent offenders from entering jail, especially those who simply cannot afford to post bail.

“I’ve said before that I don’t want nonviolent inmates in our facility, those who are not a danger to our community – I don’t want them in our prison,” McMahon said.

Prison is supposed to be a punishment for crimes committed and when people are given bail it is to make sure they show up to court. But when someone can’t afford to pay bail, they often have to stay in jail until their trial, which can take weeks or months.

“Since we launched the program, we have saved the average number of days detainees are held, reduced it by around 50,000 days, which is about 50 inmates less in the facility per month,” did he declare.

This is good news for taxpayers because keeping people in jail costs money.

“If you look at the national average for what it costs for an inmate per day, and look at the medical savings, we know we’ve saved, almost $ 5 million saved in the county,” he said. declared.

McMahon has made it clear that he doesn’t let people accused of violent crimes or things like DWI offenses get out of jail – but he said it gives people another chance to get the help they need. instead of just locking them up.

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