VINITA, OK (KWTV)- Budget cuts forced the Department of Corrections to stop paying 10 counties to house Department of Corrections inmates and sheriffs across the state are looking for ways to keep their jails running.
"I don't know any way to come up with 100 thousand dollars out of thin air," said Craig County Sheriff Heath Winfrey.
The DOC paid county jails $32 a day per inmate to house them. Winfrey says - between food, water and electricity - it costs the jail about $24 a day to hold each one. Until he and nine other sheriffs got a letter, ending their contracts three months early.
The loss is hitting counties across the state.In Craig County, the jail is the biggest expense of the sheriff's office. Winfrey estimates the loss of funding is between $100,000 and $115,000.
"There's no excess of people. There's no fat to trim for us," he said. "If you start trimming fat, we start losing the ability to provide the service that we need to do. So, there's no extra"
According to KWTV, the DOC says moving the inmates to its own facilities will save nearly $800,000 by the end of the fiscal year, and it has no plan to put inmates back into county jails in the near future.