Saturday, March 24, 2007

Retards in Kansas do something interesting.

Do you get evicted if you don't pay your rent?

From the Salina Journal:

MARION -- There'll be no free lunch -- no free anything - at the Marion County Jail. The county soon will begin charging inmates for their care - $11.75 a day at the minimum. A resolution passed this week by the Marion County Commission means the end of "free room and board, three squares a day" at the jail, said Randy Dallke, commission chairman. The charges will take effect after the resolution is published in the county newspaper, said Karen Selznick, office manager at the Marion County Attorney's office.

Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker said Kansas law allows him to charge for jail time. Currently, the bill is passed to taxpayers, who pay a little more than $18 a day to house a prisoner.
Prisoners will pay $9.50 a day for food, $2 for clothing, bedding and laundry and 25 cents for hygiene items. Plus, they'll be billed the full cost of medications and health care, and $25 to $40 an hour for transportation services.

"Hopefully we'll send a message that it's no longer a free ride," Becker said.

If all this sounds inhospitable, that's the point.

"If it gets expensive enough, maybe they won't want to come back and see us again," Dallke said. "We're trying to lighten the tax burden of taking care of people -- the repeat offenders," he said.

Inmates who work for the county -- a maximum of four hours a day -- will see a $5 reduction in the jail bill. Inmates who work for other employers through a work release program will be required to pay the county $20 a day to defray costs.

Dallke said the county will pursue payment "just like any bill. We'll send it to them and see if we get paid. If that's not the case, we'll have to take legal action to get paid in full." Sheriff Becker said collecting the debts could be a problem if civil judgments are required. "I don't see tons of revenue coming in, but anything helps," he said.

The sheriff felt stung recently when an inmate received Social Security disability checks while awaiting trial. "He's in here five months and getting a check every month while I'm paying all the costs of housing, feeding and clothing him. He will get paid until he's convicted and goes to prison," Becker said. "With this resolution, at least I will be able to recoup the costs to taxpayers on one side of it."

The sheriff's office has some precedence for charging fees. Already in place is a $45 fingerprinting fee charged those booked into jail. That fee is waived if the prisoner is not convicted. Last year, Becker said, the county collected $1,300 for fingerprinting.

The cost of care for each prisoner in the Salina jail is $47.80 a day, and that cost is borne by taxpayers. But Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said prisoners are charged for medical care. "When you charge, they usually have a justified reason" for demanding health care, he said. "It cuts down on the unnecessary trip to go see the nurse."

That health care charge was begun by former Sheriff Darrell Wilson. He said his fee schedule - $5 for a nurse, $10 for a doctor -- cut the number of prisoner medical visits by two-thirds.
Wilson, who now is executive director of the Kansas Sheriff's Association, said Marion County's room and board fee is unusual in Kansas.

"Not everybody agrees with charging prisoners," he said. "But most citizens paying the bill would agree if they've (the prisoners) got the money, why shouldn't they pay?"

I don't like this for non-convicted prisoners. If someone is arrested but has not yet been convicted, they are presumed innocent. As such, the burden is on the tax payer, as society's paying for a legal system, police force, and other expenses is the burden that they are to bear if they are to have such systems.

I believe that Spokane, WA tried this and it was found unconstitutional and all prior inmates were awarded a refund.

On the other hand convicted prisoners should be charged for as much as possible. We've got inmates who want to go see the nurse/doctor every single day if they can. I think if Nebraska law let us do this, it would be an extremely popular measure.


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