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County asks state for more money to house prisoners

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An unidentified Hamilton County inmate waits to be re-admitted to his holding cell on the second floor of the Hamilton County Jail. Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press An unidentified Hamilton County inmate waits to be re-admitted to his holding cell on the second floor of the Hamilton County Jail. Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

Sheriff Jim Hammond says Tennessee should pay Hamilton County more for housing state inmates -- but lawmakers say it will be a tough year to get more dough out of Nashville.

The county is responsible for housing, feeding and securing defendants who are awaiting trial in Hamilton County. Once convicted, inmates are technically in state custody, but they don't all get sent to state prison immediately. Some stay in the county jail for extended periods of time, and that gets costly, Hammond said.

"What they are giving us is about $40 a day, and what it costs us is about $80 a day," Hammond said. "We're spending about $75,000 a day on average. ... If we had more out of the state, that would certainly help offset that cost."

But state Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, says he's not too hopeful about increasing the state prisoner per diem.

Read more from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press

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