Money, travel issues in Sumter inmate care

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2004

Money and distance are the two major factors holding up a decision to allow prisoners in the Sumter County Jail to visit and doctor in Livingston instead of York.

During the latest Sumter County Commission, the commission voted to table the issue of medical care for county inmates. The commissioners have tabled this issue for the last two consecutive meetings.

Commissioner Ronnie Beard said the main issues with the medical care of the inmates are the distance involved and the money. Beard also said we originally used Jerry and Eleanor Eller as the doctors and paid them $500 for their services.

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He said the county changed to a doctor in York because they charged $450, but here in lies the problem. He also said all the traveling really hurt the sheriff’s department last year.

“After they travel 22 miles round trip and wait a couple of hours to visit the doctor, it just makes good sense to keep them in Livingston,” Beard said.

Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter said he would like them to just keep it in Livingston. He also said doing all that traveling and waiting; at least in Livingston they rush the inmate in and rush them back out.

“It would be better if they moved it back to a Livingston,” Hatter said.

Beard said the commissioners agreed with Sheriff Hatter and are currently in negotiations with Eller to make this happen. He also said one of the holdups is they are asking for $750 now, instead of the original $500.

“The commissioners are going to hold a special work group and continue to negotiate the price,” Beard said.

Hatter said he hopes they can come to an arrangement, so they don’t have to continue those trips to York especially now since the new prison is built.

“It would just be better to rush the inmates over there and get them back in the jail as quickly as possible,” Hatter said.