Jefferson County recently sued the city of Beaumont, seeking to force the city to pay more money for housing its prisoners.

The suit was filed May 13 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the petition, in the mid 1980s the county and city entered into an inter-local agreement regarding the Jefferson County Correctional Facility, wherein the city agreed to pay the county for the housing of city prisoners in the county jail.

“Nevertheless, the city has refused to pay the county to house such city prisoners,” the suit states. “For several years, the county has continued to house these city prisoners while attempting to obtain just reimbursement for these costs.”

The county alleges the city refuses to make proper payments and also refuses to renegotiate the increased costs incurred since 1986.

“The city erroneously contends that its prisoners are ‘committed’ to the custody of the county jail and thus become ‘county prisoners’ under the agreement, once those prisoners have been taken before a magistrate to receive constitutional warnings … and have their bail set,” the suit states.

“The city also asserts that this includes most prisoners who have been arrested for violating city ordinances.”

The county is requesting the court to declare persons arrested by city peace officers are not county prisoners under certain conditions of the agreement and that the city improperly refuses to pay the county.

The county is also suing for attorney’s fees.

Attorney James Allison of the Austin firm Allison, Bass & Magee represents the county.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B-198481

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