The Lenawee County (Mich.) Prosecutor’s Office began collecting delinquent bills at the start of the year from people who have spent time in the county’s jail. The county faced delinquent bills over the years that totaled more than $20 million. 

Inmates are billed approximately $43 a day for room and board. Prosecutor Burke Castleberry said he’s using the state prisoner reimbursement statute to file legal claims against former inmates in Lenawee County Circuit Court.
The decision to collect in-house resulted in replacing three private collection agencies that county officials said had success rates of no higher than 4% in recent years. One agency collected $125,935 out of $6.6 million in debts assigned to it since 2007, according to reports from the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department. Another agency collected $372,179 since 2007 out of $10.65 million owed.
Room and board money the county collects goes into the jail debt fund to help pay off a loan that financed construction of the jail in 2004, said county officials. That financing plan called for inmate revenue to be the main source of money to pay off a $6 million bond issue, he said. There also was seed money from Lenawee County's delinquent tax revolving fund. A bond payment of more than $500,000 is due each May. The final payment is due in 2018 and could be made early if room and board collections generate enough money, county officials said.

Lenawee County is located on the southern board of Michigan, adjacent to Ohio. The county seat is Adrian, Mich. As of the 2010 Census, the county had a population of 99,892. 

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