Thomas County, Georgia- July 13, 2012
The Thomas County Jail has seen a 23% increase in inmate population over a three to four month period.
Sheriff's Deputies believe the poor economy could be a contributing factor.
"Some people that are coming to jail are not bonding out because of economics," said Thomas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Steve Jones. "It's cheaper to stay here and to sit for a couple weeks and then go to court."
State prisons are also trying to reduce their inmate populations, which results in more offenders being placed on probation.
"Work is difficult to find and when they're not working, they're not paying fines, and when they're not paying fines, they're not reporting to probation officers. Thus they revoke probation and when they revoke probation, they come to county jail," Capt. Jones added.
An increase in prisoners also means an increase in monthly expenses for the jail. Officials have had to purchase more food, more clothing and even install extra bedding.
"About $22 a day; that's what it costs us to house an inmate," Capt. Jones said. "You're looking at roughly $1,300 a day increase."
People in the community say they're not surprised by the increase in the crime.
"That just shows that our economy is hurting; that people are now trying every way they can to support their families," said Sherri Weiske, a Thomasville resident.
Capt. Jones says if the inmate population continues to climb, they could have to hire more employees to work in the jail.