BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) –West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials estimate it will cost around $277 million to make needed repairs in the state’s jails and prisons, up from $200,000 in 2018, a Beckley attorney alleged.

Beckley attorney Stephen New said state lawmakers do not have a regular funding stream in place to pay for repairs at state jails, although lawmakers earmark funds to pay for maintenance at prisons and centers that detain minors in the state.

New, who has a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Southern Regional Jail inmates, said recently state lawmakers require counties to pay for maintenance in state jails, through the regular daily, or per diem, rate each county pays to house inmates.

The current per diem rate for each inmate is $48.25.

Many county commissions across the state have failed to pay jail bills, which commissioners have said are staggering.

The president of Raleigh County Commission said on Friday, August 4, 2023, that $2 million comes from county coffers to pay for inmates at Southern Regional Jail.

Tolliver said it is unrealistic for lawmakers to rely on county coffers to fund deferred maintenance at state jails.

“You can’t rely on the per diem from the counties, to pay the tab on the maintenance,” said Tolliver. “And it just isn’t right. We can’t do it. The legislature’s going to have to divvy up more money, or something, to get the maintenance and stuff taken care of, at the jail.”

New said lawmakers also rely on inmate telephone calls, commissary purchases and special allocations from the Legislature to pay for maintenance.

59News reached out to West Virginia Division of Corrections in August but did not receive a response.