What physical movement needs to occur?
Beginning in December, county jail inmates will be charged up to $142 per day. These fees are to reimburse the county for food and clothing as well as security and other jail costs. Once inmates have been released, the county will garnish their wages and levy liens on their homes to collect. Jeff Stone, Temecula pharmacist and county supervisor, suggested the measure. Stone acknowledges that many convicted criminals will be unable to pay as they are often indigent and cannot collect their paychecks riverside sheriff inmate locator behind bars. However, he believes that 25% could be able to pay some amount, particularly white collar crime inmates, and that this could bring in at minimum $6 million annually to the county.
Stone stated, “In these extremely difficult economic times, every penny counts for counties, particularly when you’re $80million in the hole.” “If the crime is committed, then you’re going the time and will have to pay the dime.” Riverside County joins other California counties who have taken measures or are looking into charging inmates for recouping jail costs. Trinity County, Northern California, charges $20 per day while Glenn County charges as high as $59 per day. This is despite being for inmates who are only allowed to serve weekends. Placer County in Sacramento charges inmates as high as $118 per day while Madera County is $73 per day.
In October, all nonviolent, not-serious, and non-sex-crime felons convicted in California began being sent to county prisons instead of to the overcrowded state prisons. This is part of the state’s effort at complying with a federal court order that reduces the prison population.
Riverside County officials anticipate that it will end up costing the state $21 million this year. Steve Thetford (chief deputy to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s prisons division) said that county jails will reach their maximum capacity next fiscal year. The county must expand its facilities, release low-risk inmates to work or home detention, and maybe pay for some to be moved to other jurisdictions.
Lawyers representing defense and legal experts claim that Riverside County’s fee would make it more difficult to reenter society for ex-inmates. UCLA law professor Sharon Dolovich called this policy “wrongheaded,” stating that some inmates may find it difficult to make ends meet and might return to their crimes. This could result in them being remanded in jail and eventually costing the county even more.
Dolovich, who is a prison and criminal law professor, stated that there’s no other purpose to this than to make people feel better. “The county needs to look long-term and see the wider costs of not reintegrating people into society,” said Dolovich, who teaches criminal and prison law. Many convicted criminals end up in jail with thousands of dollars worth of court-ordered fees. Legal bills may also be hanging over those with the financial means to hire a private legal counsel.
Lee agreed, saying that “If they did not have groups, I don’t believe they would be interfacing with one another.” They would continue to follow their regular jail schedule. They are able to study together or form bonds with one another through these groups. It is a great way to foster positive social interactions.