How many Erie County jail inmates receive public aid?
Federal confidentially laws prohibit county officials from releasing names of people collecting welfare, so it's impossible to know exactly who's on financial plans and who's not.
But here's some figures to consider:
Welfare payments given to qualifying county residents totaled about $9 million from 2008 through 2012. Welfare is a cash-assistance program for qualifying residents to buy non-food necessities.
There are about 250 Erie County residents receiving welfare today. Three types of people qualify for welfare:
• Disabled people unable to earn money on their own.
• Adults considered a caretaker for a child younger than 18.
• Unemployed adults living with at least one child.
Food stamp credits distributed to the county's impoverished residents totaled $62.2 million from 2008 through 2011.
"The food stamp benefit, which is actually called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was and is meant to serve as a bridge to ge people through a difficult time by helping them partially meet that basic need for food," said Karen Balconi Ghezzi, the county's job and family services executive director.
There is no limit on how many county residents can receive food stamps.
The jail's average daily population in 2012 totaled 123 inmates.
At times, the number peaked to 140-plus inmates confined in a cramped space designed for just 106 bodies. The jail's fitted for 90 men and 16 women.