Commissioners agree to house Fayette inmates in Butler County Prison
Butler County Commissioners approved an agreement last week to house 34 prisoners from Fayette County in the Butler County Prison.
The agreement, one of several Butler County has with neighboring counties, helps with prison expenses, said Dale Pinkerton, a Butler County commissioner and chairman of the county's prison board.
“Without this sort of agreement, it would not be fair to our taxpayers. This is not a moneymaker. It reduces the expense of running the jail,” Pinkerton said.
The prison charges $60 per day to house prisoners from other counties.
The 564-bed prison opened in 2009. It now has 365 inmates, including those from other counties. Two of the prison's pods are unused.
State and federal governments often pay counties to board prisoners to ease overcrowding in their prisons, and Butler County has actively sought prisoners housed in state and federal prisons.
The Fayette County Prison Board this last week voted to recommend to commissioners that a new jail be built on a site near the fairgrounds in Dunbar Township, at an estimated cost of $27 million to $32 million.
The county's crime rate has gone up 5 percent in the past five years, mainly because of DUI arrests, said warden Brian Miller.
The county's prison in Uniontown is 124 years old and can house 262 inmates, Miller said.
Fayette County has 77 inmates housed outside of the county. Besides those in Butler, other inmates are in prisons in Centre, Greene, Bedford and Cambria counties.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.