If Jeff Stone, a supervisor for Riverside County, California gets his way, inmates may soon be charged for their daily upkeep in county jails.
Cities, counties, states and federal government are facing financial deficits. Without being able to raise taxes, the only way these various government agencies can survive is to cut services and personnel anywhere they can.
In some cases, the jails and prisons have been hit hard with cuts, which has led to increased danger for the remaining guards and prison personnel. In other cases, jails have been forced to release some prisoners early along with others that were convicted of lesser non-violent crimes.
Jeff Stone has a different idea of how to maintain the county jail and introduced an ordinance that would charge inmates for their daily upkeep. Currently, Stone calculates that it costs the county approximately $143 per day per inmate. Being sentenced to 30 days in the county jail would cost someone $4,290. A 6 month sentence would be $26,097 and a 1 year stay in the county lock up would total up to a whopping $52,195.
He explained that many of the county inmates were convicted of white collar crimes and will more likely be able to afford to pay the daily upkeep. If they are unable to pay the fees, Stone said the county will put a lien on any real property the inmate owns.
Stone estimates that this ordinance will bring in about $5 million of revenue to the county jail which will go a long way to help fund the jail operations.
I for one believe this is an excellent idea and should be adopted by counties across the country. After all, jail is the last place men and women should have a free ride and live off the expense of others.