The county may be getting money back for the illegal aliens housed in the Tom Green County Jail over the past year, as commissioners court unanimously agreed to apply for grant money provided by the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) on Tuesday.
The grant, which the county applies for on an annual basis, is used to offset the costs of housing criminal aliens in the county jail for four or more consecutive days, who have been convicted of felonies or at least two misdemeanor offenses.
As part of the application process, the jail staff compiles a list of qualifying inmates and submits it to the county’s auditor, who completes the application and submits it to the state.
“Last year’s award was $5,416,” said county auditor Nathan Cradduck. “It’s a formula type award based on grant funds available at the federal level for a number of qualifying inmates that we have in the jail.”
A total of 29 undocumented criminal aliens were on the list submitted last year, Cradduck explained; this year’s list is currently being compiled.
The funds received from the state are applied to jailer’s salaries, a drop in the bucket considering the $3.227 million the county paid out for staffing last year.
“It’s a little help,” Cradduck said. “The amount has steadily gone down over the years. We used to get about $15,000 a year, and in some ways the funding has decreased, but last year, for example, we had fewer inmates that qualified as compared to previous years.”
Since SCAAP received funding under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, monetary amounts rose and fell for a decade and a half before dropping steadily from 2010 through 2014. According to a press release from the National Conference on State Legislature, in 2013 the amount allocated to SCAAP covered approximately 18 percent of state costs. The funds themselves do not reimburse costs of housing, feeding or providing medical care to the offenders.