It has been almost seven months since Lauderdale County's Juvenile Detention Center closed. Since late February, all juvenile offenders from the county have been transported to and housed in Rankin County. Sheriff Billy Sollie says this is a win-win arrangement for all involved.
'We believe that the county is going to save money with the shutting down of the detention facility and by housing them in Rankin County. We believe that the youth are being better served in Rankin County and only being brought back here for hearings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.'
It's the rising cost for gas, and the fact that court for youth in Lauderdale County has increased from two days to three a week, that's putting a pinch on the county's purse.
'We're having to increase our personnel down here just by a few because of the transportation issue at 2 AM in the morning,' says Sollie.
'At the same time, Rankin County has informed us that they will be increasing their costs for us from $75 a day to $100 a day affective October first,' says Joe Norwood, who is president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors. 'So, the money that we were looking forward to saving by closing the detention center, it looks like that will be absorbed in increasing costs.'
Despite the increase in transportation and housing expenses, Sheriff Sollie is optimistic that other changes which have been made will keep down the overall cost.
'The personnel who were out there have been transferred and through attrition we're getting our numbers back down.'
On average, Rankin County is housing eight youth offenders from Lauderdale County each day.