Prison Plans to Charge Inmates for Food, Health Care

| by Michael Allen

Elko County, Nev. has approved a plan to force inmates to pay for their own meals and medical care while they’re imprisoned in the county jail.

The Elko County Commission agreed last Wednesday to charge inmates $6 daily for meals, $10 for a doctor visit and a $5 fee for being booked, notes ABC News.

People who are in jail for less than 24 hours and those who work jobs in the jail will not be charged. Inmates, who are found innocent, will not be charged either.

“We’re not the Hilton,” Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts told the Elko Daily Free Press. “These guys shouldn’t have a free ride.”

However, if those "guys" have paid their local taxes, they are actually paying twice to be in jail. Also, the Hilton is where people choose to stay, jail is not.

The jail's fees will be deducted from prisoners’ accounts, which are normally funded by family and friends, not the inmates themselves.

The prisoners’ accounts are used to by items such as shampoo, deodorant, envelopes and candy.

“All I’m doing is taking my cut first, before they buy their candies,” added Sheriff Pitts. “They need to pay for their food first before they get their dessert.”

However, Elko County may have to spend money in a legal fight to charge prisoners.

“I was aghast that anyone was even thinking of doing this,” Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU Nevada, 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,” added Story.

Sources: Associated Press, ABC News, Elko Daily Free Press