October 03. 2009 6:59AM

Berrien, Van Buren counties recoup some jail costs related to undocumented criminal aliens

Story was first posted at 3:32 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009.

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded Van Buren County $4,458 to cover some costs of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens who committed serious crimes.

Van Buren County is one of 900 communities across the country to apply for and receive reimbursement from the 3,140 eligible communities, Lt. Robert Kirk, Van Buren County jail administrator, said, via a news release.

While much of the costs are the responsibility of local governments, some federal funding is available, but difficult to find, Kirk said. Van Buren County officials sought help from Justice Benefits Inc. to research available reimbursement to the county.

Federal reimbursement can be used toward salaries, training and education for offenders and for officer recruitment and retention, among other costs associated with jailing criminal aliens.

The Van Buren County Jail, in Paw Paw, is an adult correctional facility with capacity to house 158 inmates.

Among other Michigan entities receiving federal reimbursement through the 2009 State Criminal Alien Assistance Program are:

Berrien County, $17,431

Branch County, $7,853

Kalamazoo County, $9,844

St. Joseph County, $14,540

State of Michigan, $1.7 million

Among Indiana entities receiving federal reimbursement money are:

Cass County, $7,854

Noble County, $11,340

Indiana Department of Correction, $1.2 million

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