Being charged with a felony can be horrifying. You aren’t sure what you did wrong, and suddenly, the authorities are after you and you are thrown in jail. You can lose your friends, alienate your family and even lose your job because you can’t work if you are in jail. The authorities seem more interested in getting a conviction than your rights.
One state, Ohio, wants inmates who are incarcerated in their prisons to pay a fee for living there. In theory, this would make them pay for what they did and teach them a lesson. Sounds good, right? It is supposed to deter people from a life of crime.
This policy doesn’t seem to be working because it causes the prisoner, who owes the county a lot of money, to commit more crimes once they are out in order to repay their debt.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is responsible for the study done that seemingly proves that ex-inmates commit new crimes to pay for their previous stay in jail. This report should prompt the authorities to stop jails from charging the inmates they have incarcerated from excessive fees. The Ohio Revised Code 2929.37 states that the confinement fee doesn’t need to exceed the amount that prisoners are able to pay. This code is ignored by 20 of the 40 major jails. They charge daily fees.
One county, Cuyahoga, chooses not to charge these fees, but the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, which is west of Toledo and is the home for inmates from several counties, charges $66.09 a day. It doesn’t take into consideration the ability of inmates to pay this fee.
You may need a knowledgeable attorney by your side to fight for your freedom. Knowing the law is one thing, but putting it to work for you is another.
Source: Cleveland.com, “Reform Ohio’s unfair pay-to-stay jail fees: editorial,” Dec. 21, 2015