Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Inmate costs county $90,000 in health expenses

One inmate awaiting trial in the Washington County Detention Center has cost the county nearly $90,000 in medical costs in one year, according to Sheriff Ed Graybeal.
Because of that cost, which is almost half of the total $180,000 budgeted annually for all inmate health care expenses, Graybeal came before the county budget committee last week to request an additional $120,000 from the county’s undesignated fund balance to shore up the inmate healthcare money.
Poncho Juan Delgado, who has been in jail for nearly four years on a murder charge, has since been moved to a state facility thanks to a recent order from a judge.
In 2008, Delgado was tried for the May 2006 murder of 41-year-old Robert Curtis, however Judge Robert Lincoln ruled it a mistrial after becoming sick midway through and having to be hospitalized.
Since then, Delgado’s attorneys have filed requests to get the case dismissed. In the meantime, Delgado remained behind bars at the Washington County Detention Center.
According to a federal law, the county must pay all healthcare costs of what are considered “pre-trial inmates,” Graybeal said. For inmates who have already gone to trial and are subsequently serving their sentences at the jail, the state pays for all healthcare expenses except the first $1,000.
“As long as they are incarcerated, we have responsibility for all of their civil rights. We have to take care of their needs,” Graybeal said. “We have no control over this. We have no other recourse. The law says we have to provide medical care.”
The committee approved the request, which will next be taken up at the full County Commission meeting on Monday, April 26.
The committee also examined the quarterly financial reports through March 31 and voted to pass them onto the full commission.
“Things look pretty good,” said Mayor George Jaynes of the reports. “Considering the time, taxes have come in very good.”
About 98 percent of the budgeted real estate taxes have been collected, which amounts to a little more than $17.5 million for the year-to-date.
Jaynes also updated the committee on his recent trips to Nashvillle, where he learned it’s going to be “rough sledding for the next few years,” he said.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes said that sales tax has come in about $47,000 lower than budget expectations, what he called “sad news.”
The schools are in the process of submitting reports to the state to receive the Race to the Top funds, which will pour $1.4 million into the system over four years.