Missouri falls six months behind in paying county jail bills

The Missouri Department of Corrections has dropped about six months behind in county jail reimbursements. Spokesperson Karen Pojmann says prior to November 2016, the state lacked appropriate review of its jail payment process, leading to uncertainty in how a $19 million shortfall accumulated.

Pojmann said during department auditing, employees found about $6 million in differences between what counties requested and what the state actually paid them.

To try and prevent errors, Pojmann said the department now checks on prisoner records, including their conviction date and trial outcome. It also examines the calculations submitted by counties and verifies if any duplicate forms have been submitted. Counties must also use an online payment submission form with additional instructions.

In a letter last month to counties, the department also said current funding levels and reimbursement schedules combined with a pre-existing backlog of approved invoices have led to a delay of paying newly approved invoices. Additionally, errors and missing documentation slow the auditing process and could result in delayed payments.

Pojmann says all invoices are paid in the order in which they are received, creating further delay for counties that infrequently submit invoices. During the current fiscal year, about $40 million is being given to the department in quarterly allotments of $10 million. The agency then repays counties within 10 business days.

Read more: Missourinet

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