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Sheriff To Politicians: Make Inmates Pay Daily ‘Rent’

Sheriff To Politicians: Make Inmates Pay Daily ‘Rent’

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The Boston Herald via YellowBrix

January 06, 2010

BEDFORD, MA – The state’s high court handcuffed a New Bedford sheriff’s bid to charge jailbirds $5-a-day rent, but the lawman is calling on Beacon Hill lawmakers to pass a stalled bill that would send the court ruling to the gallows.

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Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who says the nominal daily inmate fees could raise $10 million a year for the cash-strapped commonwealth, says the state Supreme Judicial Court erred by striking down his pay-to-stay program at the Dartmouth House of Correction. But, he says, the Legislature could make the ruling moot by moving legislation giving sheriffs the power to impose reasonable fees.

“Hopefully the Legislature will do the right thing,” Hodgson told the Herald. “The state of Massachusetts is losing millions of dollars by not having this acted upon.”

The SJC unanimously ruled yesterday that sheriffs, who oversee jailhouse budgets and manage facilities, do not have the authority to impose fees to offset the costs of housing inmates.

“Had the Legislature intended to authorize the sheriff to impose the challenged fees, it would have said so expressly as it had done with other fees,” SJC Justice Roderick L. Ireland wrote in the decision.

The ruling means Hodgson will have to pay back $750,000 in fees collected from inmates from 2002 to 2004 and held in escrow. Hodgson estimates that the state spends $35,000 a year per inmate.

Hodgson, a no-nonsense ex-cop who brought back chain gangs, yanked TVs from cells and has been criticized for overcrowded jails, contended that colonial-era law gave him authority to impose the fees. He says the SJC decision hits taxpayers in the wallet while inmates blow their canteen cash on sneakers and snacks.

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  • Sfa_iv_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Good idea!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I really like the Idea.

  • Mourning_max50


    over 5 years ago


    wow! I sure would love to have the inmates in Ca. pay rent

  • Car6_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Awesome Idea, take a couple more steps and make them pay for everything. Let our taxes do something for the people that have to pay them in the community. I wish my area would do the same thing.

  • Image001_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Several Arizona Jails charge their inmates per day. They have been doing this for years.

  • Eagle8_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I'm inclined to believe that charging inmates rent would have some constitutional impact., especially for those inmates with no commissary or money on the books. However, if there was a fee per $100 or percent on funds that was put into an inmates commissary, I believe it would be easier to implement and to get into local law

  • Img_0933_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Make them pay.

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I love how Sheriff Joe is setting a great example for the rest of the correctional facilities to follow.

    MAKE EM PAY FOR IT ALL, I have never been to a penitentiary so why would I pay for someone else to live a life I am struggling to live.

  • Mr_and_mrs_bledsoe_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Love it!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    These days going to jail is like going on vacation for inmates, with the new jails inmates are allowed to walk freely as if they are trusted. Some inmates have access to cable television inside of their jail cell I think it is 40 or 41 channel television along with music to listen too. If it was up to me, they should just be put inside an empty room with their plumbing and bedding only, maybe a window showing the outside so they can see every day of what they are missing. 2 years ago, the state would spend $30,000 on one inmate while housed inside prison. The state would only pay $15,000 for a high school student. If high school students are required to pay for their lunches, why not inmates? If it were also up to me, I would make the inmate pay maybe $5 for housing, $5 for the utilities for their laundry and bathroom, and maybe $5 for their lunch as well. That is about the cost of what high school students have to pay for their schooling. So why should they be treated better than us high school students who are actually trying to make something of our lives. . In most states Police officers and sheriff deputies are losing their jobs due to cut backs, if inmates paid it would help enable agencies to allow more police units to patrol and keep their jobs This is my opinion I may be a little harsh but I have no sympathy for the people in jail. After all they are the ones who put their selves in jail

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 5 years ago


    The Sheriff is on the right track, inmates should be made to pay.

  • Honorvalor_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I think inmates should pay to stay in jail.. If they can buy t.v.s and other items then they can pay "rent"..

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    Charge them for everything! Why should law abiding citizens have to pay to feed and house ppl who have chosen a life of crime. No way this guys on the money good for him! Hope they turn it over and get it straight...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    Good. Hard working Americans pay rent why is it that the scum bags don't...?
    Charge them for their meals too...

  • Titpaint_max50


    over 5 years ago


    They need to be paying more than just 'rent'... jail/prison has too many 'perks' in my opinion. Jail/prison really needs to be a place that NO ONE should want to go to, which would make some of those borderline criminals think twice about committing a crime. 'Borderline Criminal'= a person who is at the point of committing a crime, but thinks to himself "dang, if I do this crime, I'll get caught and go to jail.... eff this, it ain't worth it cos that place sucks!!"

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