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Weber County Jail stops charging inmates for time spent inside

Weber County Jail reported 32 active COVID-19 cases among inmates, making this the second outbreak in the facility since July. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

OGDEN – The Weber County Jail is trying a new way to cut costs which might seem counterintuitive.  They’re hoping to save money… by not collecting money.

State law allows counties to charge inmates of their jails for the time they spend on the inside.  It’s called “pay for stay.”  It was meant to help offset some of the expenses jails have.  Weber County decided not to charge as much as they could have.

“It costs around $73 to $76 a day to keep somebody in jail.  When this law was passed, we decided at our county jail that we were going to charge $10 a day,” according to Weber County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Joshua Marigoni.

However, the county recovered very little of what the inmates owed.

Marigoni says, “In 2018, $1.6 million was billed after all of the collections and everything, we received just over $55 thousand of that money.”

Weber County tried to collect some of that money on their own, and they partnered with collection services for some of those accounts.  However, Marigoni believes the county may have spent more money collecting the fees than they brought in.

“It wasn’t worth the time spent billing and collecting the fees,” he says.

This change starts on the first day of August, so the inmates who are in jail now won’t get a break.

“We’ll continue to accept money for the accounts that are still current,” Marigoni says.