A little more about inmate fees

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

It’s Thursday, which means there’s a brand new Worcester Mag on the stands today. Our cover story this week is about inmate fees–charging prisoners in county jails a $5/day fee while they’re in jail, among other fees for doctors visits and medical prescriptions.

The House and Senate each passed bills (attached to the FY11 budget as amendments) regarding the measure, which reached a committee who would have been charged with reconciling the two and readying a final version to go back before the House and Senate for a final vote.

Except after we went to press yesterday that committee dropped the amendment, and instead replaced it with “a special commission to study the feasibility of establishing inmate fees,” explains Jim Pingeon, a lawyer with Prisoners’ Legal Services.

This is bad news for inmate fee proponents. It delays any momentum for the measure until March 1, 2011 when the results of the study are due. On the flipside, Prisoners’ Legal Services, which is against the measure, now has a larger say in the matter because the language in the FY11 budget mandates that a representative from that group serve on the commission.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A little more about inmate fees

  1. I’m glad you’re taking a look at this Jeremy! A good follow up might be to look at some of the costs that inmates already do pay (phone calls are ASTRONOMICAL). Good news on the dropped amendment. People need to call their reps and senators to keep it out. And keep a close eye on Hodgson, he’s making moves.

  2. Instead of charging fees, why not make it mandatory for ALL of them to pick up all that roadside litter THEY threw out everywhere before they were locked up, and all the litter being left daily by their future roommates as well.

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