ATLANTA — Montmorency County Jail has reached an agreement with a debt collection agency to collect more money on unpaid debt owed to the jail by former inmates.
At the March 22 Montmorency County Board of Commissioners meeting, Sheriff Chad Brown sought approval for the deal with LJ Ross to help collect some of the debt owed to the jail from former inmates. The request was approved unanimously by the commissioners.
The impetus for crafting the deal centered on the former debt collection agency, Trinity Services, which did not actively pursue unsettled debt cases with the county jail.
“Basically, we’ve used Trinity Services in our recent history,” Undersheriff Brian Crane said. “When we started looking at our debt situation and Trinity was still under contract, we contacted them, but they had lost our records.”
Losing county records, Crane said prison administrator Lt. Lori Stanley went through prison records and compiled a list of people who still had an outstanding balance with the prison.
Crane said the list had more than 1,200 former inmates and was worth about $316,000 in money owed. That list goes back decades, Crane said.
Currently, the cost of incarceration in the prison consists of a booking fee of $12, $26 per day for a sentenced person, $15 per day for release, and a $5 fee if an inmate seek medical attention.
These costs, along with medical and EMS bills, are included in the costs the prison tries to recover after the inmate is released. Inmates who come from other entities such as other counties or the state are not subject to fees because the entity is responsible for the expense.
LJ Ross’ deal with the jail is free of charge unless he is able to recoup lost money for the county. If the sum is less than $500, LJ Ross will take a 35% commission, if the sum exceeds this amount, it increases to 40%.
Crane said the department will have two employees to distribute debt letters to former inmates and if the letters have no activity, the case will be sent to LJ Ross for collection. Crane said he understands the department will not be able to collect all outstanding debts.
“We thought a little money was better than no money,” he said.
Tyler Winowiecki can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Tyler on Twitter tw_alpenanews.