Benton Co. wants former jail inmates to pay up

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) - Hundreds of former jail inmates owe the Benton County Sheriff's Office money for costs they amassed while behind bars, and authorities are trying to collect.

The sheriff's office recently sent out nearly 1,800 bills to collect more than $1 million in outstanding debts.

The Tri City Herald says the action isn't unprecedented but did prompt some complaints from recipients.

Spokeswoman Julie Thompson says the department is trying to recoup money the county spent on inmate charges such as nurse visits, prescription costs and property damage.

She says the department is hoping to contract with a collection agency to help collect the debts.