Ottawa County considers new inmate billing process

Ottawa County
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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The question of how much jail inmates should pay for their stay is up for question this month in Ottawa County.

Ottawa County recently started a pilot program hoping to make jail payments easier for inmates and now they’re considering making it permanent.

Our media partners at the Grand Haven Tribune report that in the program, the county charges inmates a flat rate of $60 for their stay when previously the charge was $25 a day.

Ottawa County officials say many people who were there for longer visits were not able to pay their fees. The county then had to send their cases to collection agencies, which often resulted in a low repayment rate.

The county’s collection rate went from 7.2 percent under the previous system in 2018 to 35.5 percent under the pilot program last year. Officials say the one-time flat fee also saved the county staffing hours. 

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners is likely to vote to finalize this pilot program at their next meeting, which takes place March 10. 

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