This is an incredibly good article and very surprising from the DN. I have
worked a lot with prisoner advocacy groups in Utah and I am very familiar with
this and other problems that cause a vicious cycle encouraging ex-offenders to
re-offend and drive up the recidivism rate. Regardless of how much money these
programs save us in the short term, they cost a tremendous amount more in the
long term. It is very heartening to see an end to this practice.
Evensen is completely right about this form of debtor prisons. What a ludicrous
I disagree! Inmates should pay. Their crimes need some sort of restitution. We
have enough free loaders in our society already.
U-tar,Inmates do "pay". That is the point of their sentence.
This is just an addition to this that enables the county to make a profit off of
anything that is deemed criminal behavior. In many areas this has led to
legislators enacting new laws and tougher sentences on existing laws solely for
the purpose of generating revenue. So instead of getting a fine for that bottle
rocket you let off during your Fourth of July celebrations, you spend three
months in jail and exit with a $10,000 bill. Now if you are a nice, law-abiding
citizen you get to start finding creative ways to pay that bill since you
probably lost your job already. If you are not a law-abiding citizen, you come
up with even more creative ways to pay that bill.
A wonderful perspective on the criminal justice system and it's flaws.
Kudos to Jay Evensen and DN. @U-tar restitution can only be levied by a judge,
wardens do not have that right.
Having worked in the criminal justice system and seen varying ways of dealing
with inmates it appalls me to think that society should foot the bill totally
for criminals, just because they get caught. In one state, they are forced to
work or be in a class getting an education for which the state pays them. From
this pay their fines, restitution and child support are paid. So essentially the
state is paying for everything out of the tax dollars used to pay these
individuals. Most of their families are already on some sort of public
assistance, which is also draining the tax coffers. So the old adage crime does
not pay is total malarkey, in some places it really does pay, albeit that the
pay is not extremely high like wages out of prison, but it does pay. The
constitution (Amendment 13) prohibits slave labor “except as a means of
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
So why not follow the 13th amendment and use their labor for which they are paid
and the proceeds used to pay their debts, where the money does not come from the
tax dollars of hard working citizen that don’t break the law, unless they
perform labor for a government entity then tax dollars could be used. For the
most part in most states and counties, the justice system has become a black
hole for public funds, from which there is no return. If there is a return it is
minimal and more than 50% of inmates ever return to society to become productive
citizens, check the recidivism rates for jails and prisons.
They were charging prisoners who had not been sentenced! They have not been
convicted of a crime; they are innocent until proven guilty. Just like everyone
else. They are in jail because they can't afford bail; so we fine them
more. Can't get more unconstitutional.
I think it is entirely appropriate to ask those who commit crime to help pay the
costs created by their crimes, and that includes the costs of incarceration. I
am surprised that a judge feels he has the authority to decree that
"restitution" of this nature is illegal. The legislature has
specifically passed a law making the practice legal. But I guess we live in a
time when judges pretty much do as they please. Government of the judges, by the
judges, and for the judges.
@GZE, happened to my brother in American Fork, a paperwork mess up and he was in
jail over a holiday weekend when he should not have been, and then they had the
nerve to send him a bill for his being incarcerated wrongly.
Its fair to charge the accused rent .. if they are paid for their time, loss of
income and emotional anguish should they be found not guilty.
What are they going to do to the inmates if the refuse to pay rent? Put them on
If an inmate refuses to pay the rent because he feels the law is unjust, he
should call his militia buddies and have an armed standoff with "the
government". Would he then be called a patriot?