The state already pays county jails to incarcerate some inmates who would otherwise go to state penitentiaries.
Renee Craddock, executive director of the Kentucky Jailers Association, said the private prison policy would shift that money away from counties.
“They are pulling revenue from counties at a time when counties don’t have a lot of revenue to spare,” she said.
Representatives from the Kentucky Jailers Association, the Kentucky Association of Counties, the Kentucky Judge/Executives Association and the Kentucky Association of Magistrates and Commissioners sent a joint letter to Bevin recently asking him to use his line-item veto power to excise the provision from the final budget bill.
The group estimates that it currently costs the state about $35 per day to house inmates in county jails versus $55 per day in private institutions.
The three prisons proposed to reopen are owned by Corrections Corporation of America, with which the state phased out contracts between 2010 and 2013 amid allegations of mismanagement at the institutions.