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The federal government is now paying more to house prisoners in the Blount County Jail.

The County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshals Service have signed a new contract that raises the rate to house federal prisoners from $58.50 to $75 per prisoner per day. It has been five years since the rate was last increased. The new rate began Dec. 1.

The Blount County Drug Court will soon be moving to a new home.

Currently based at the Justice Center, the program will be relocating to the old health department building at 1006 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, which also houses the County Probation Department and the Blount County Historical Museum.