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tatee View Drop Down
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    Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:32am

Nevada County Charging for Jail Meals; ACLU Upset

RENO, Nev. February 8, 2014 (AP)
By SCOTT SONNER Associated Press

A northern Nevada county is moving ahead with what may be a first-in-the-nation plan to charge county jail inmates for food and medical care, despite objections from the American Civil Liberties Union that it's cruel and unusual punishment and could lead to a court battle.

The Elko County Commission on Wednesday approved Sheriff Jim Pitts' proposal to charge inmates $6 a day for meals, $10 for each doctor visit and $5 for initial booking into the jail, a move he says will save county taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

"Why should the people of Elko County pay for somebody else's meals in jail?" said Commissioner Grant Gerber, a backer of the plan who thinks the fees should be higher.

Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU Nevada, said that depending on how indigents and others who can't afford the fees are treated, the county could be in for a legal fight over the edict to prisoners that there is no free lunch.

"I was aghast that anyone was even thinking of doing this," he told The Associated Press. "It is unconstitutional — cruel and unusual punishment."

"There is no value in trying to punish them further than the sentence that they are already serving," Story said.

Pitts said it costs about $85 per day per inmate to cover the costs of food, services, housing and utilities at the facility with a capacity of 120 — a total of about $10,000 daily.

"We're not the Hilton," he told the Elko Daily Free Press, which first reported approval of the plan on its website Thursday. "These guys shouldn't have a free ride."

While it's not uncommon in some states for counties to charge inmates a small fee or copayment for medical care, National Sheriff's Association operations director Fred Wilson said he's not aware of any charging for meals.

In Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, famous for his crackdowns on illegal immigration and tough jail policies, has discussed the idea and is still considering it, but he hasn't instituted it, sheriff's spokesman Christopher Hegstrom said Friday.

"Elko has never been afraid of being first," Gerber told the AP.

Under the new policy, Elko County inmates will be exempt from the fees if they work at the jail or are incarcerated for less than 24 hours. Inmates ultimately found innocent will be reimbursed.

In the coming weeks, the fees will be deducted from an individual inmate's commissary account, where family and friends can deposit money for the inmate to order items such as candy, shampoo and envelopes.

Those with no money would see their account accrue a negative balance, and that balance would remain in the event the inmate was released but later returned to jail for whatever reason.

"It has nothing to do with them getting out of jail, but if they ever come back with any money, that will be applied to what they owe us," Pitts said Friday. "All I'm doing is taking my cut first, before they buy their candies. They need to pay for their food first before they get their dessert."

Pitts said the fees for doctor visits are necessary to help combat an increase in the number of inmates who appear to be faking illnesses.

"Once they hit our jail, they're sick. And then when they get into the cells they talk to each other," Pitts told the commission. "They say, 'Oh, you got aspirin for that? Or you got a prescription for that?' So everyone in that cell ... (claims to have) the same disease."

Story said the fees for food likely are more vulnerable to legal challenge than charging for doctor visits.

"Some jails charge a very minimal copayment for medical services, but it's based entirely on an inmate's ability to pay, or capacity to pay," he said. "But the food is not even a question. Once somebody has entered into the system, they become the responsibility of the state."



http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/nevada-county-charging-jail-meals-aclu-upset-22420906
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creole booty View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote creole booty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:34am
Slavery in jail.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (13) Thanks(13)   Quote leftywefty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:35am
so it's cruel and unusual to make criminals pay for meals, but it's ok to starve school children when their parents can't pay?
This country is so ass backwards 
I feel for the people who were wrongly convicted, but it pisses me off that tax payers are footing the bill to feed criminals. Thanks for posting this OP
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nala52808 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:37am
Originally posted by leftywefty leftywefty wrote:

so it's cruel and unusual to make criminals pay for meals, but it's ok to starve school children when their parents can't pay?
This country is so ass backwards 
I feel for the people who were wrongly convicted, but it pisses me off that tax payers are footing the bill to feed criminals. Thanks for posting this OP

I agree wit you
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote juniper angel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:38am
They are criminals they are not going to pay you cant make them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote creole booty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:39am
They should give free lunches to children too. Inmates should b focusing on rehabilitation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote ShadyLady Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:39am
So the people with no money can't eat?

I'm okay with this if people with no money can only eat, like bologna sandwiches, but people who pay get upgraded meals.

They need to cut off their cable and get rid of their gyms too.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote Lite Brite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:42am
This is ridiculous on many levels. But I don't have time to respond in full at the moment
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote ShadyLady Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:43am
I think this would increase violence in jail too.

Violent or desperate criminals with no money will probably attack others for food or money.

Edited by ShadyLady - Feb 09 2014 at 10:50am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote liesnalibis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:45am
Okay this is bullshyt. I could understand prison, but jail? People go to jail for all types of bullshyt.
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