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Politics & Government

Proposal to charge counties for 'excess inmates' at the prison rejected by the House

The House has turned down a proposal by the Department of Corrections to implement an inmate allocation system on a pilot project basis.

The pilot project was part of the Corrections budget bill. It would involve Burleigh, Morton, Cass and Williams Counties. The Department would set a quota for inmates sent to the prison – and if a county went over that limit, it would be charged a daily rate per inmate.

Supporters of that plan say the prison is overcrowded – and more aggressive sentencing by certain judges could be to blame. Rep. Jon Nelson (r-Rugby) says the problem is – the counties, the department and the judges aren’t talking about the problem.

"There's no question -- this is intended to get to the problem in Burleigh County and DOCR," said Nelson.

Rep. Lawrence Klemin (R-Bismarck) says the dispute is really between the Department and the Judiciary.

"And the solution is to charge a third party until they come to the table?" said Klemin. "What?"

That part of the bill was rejected on a 48 to 45 vote. The House did pass the rest of the bill – and it will be considered in the Senate.

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