Brunswick County not getting paid for housing federal inmates during shutdown

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As the partial government shutdown continues into its second month, local agencies are starting to feel the ripple effect.

According to a letter sent to Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram from the United States Marshals Service, at this time, the agency is unable to pay the sheriff’s office for housing federal detainees for the month of December.

“During an absence of appropriations, USMS operations are limited to those needed to maintain the minimum level of essential activities necessary to protect life and property. We consider your services essential to USMS operations and you are requested to continue to provide services,” wrote Robert Pettit, acting U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has an intergovernmental agreement with the USMS to house up to 50 federal inmates at a cost of $65 a day. For the month of December, the sheriff’s office is owed $54,405.

Pettit wrote that payments will commence when the Federal Prisoner Detention appropriation is funded ‘through enactment of a full budget or continuing resolution.’

Emily Flax, with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, says as of Tuesday, they had 20 federal detainees in their facility. They fluctuate between 20 and 30 federal detainees  on average.

Flax says when the government reopens, the sheriff’s office will submit the invoice(s) for December, January, etc.

“Our budget for this year is in good shape, due to reimbursements from last year being part of this year’s budget,” Flax wrote in an email. “If the shutdown continues into the next fiscal year, we’ll have to see what County Finance will do with the detention center budget.”

A New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman confirmed they are owed money too, but did not have further details.

Pender, Bladen and Columbus Counties are not federal holding facilites at this time.






Categories: Brunswick, Local

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