The Cost of Crime Rises

Starting tomorrow, the cost of crime will rise for Polk County Jail inmates. To offset the cost of inmate housing, the Polk County Sheriff’s office will charge a $2 fee per day to each inmate.

“In honor of the hard working men and women who pay taxes to house criminals, we are now going to charge those criminals two dollars a day—to start—so they can help offset the cost to Polk County’s taxpayers,” wrote Sherriff Grady Judd in a press release this morning. The office reports their cost per day per inmate is $52.27.

Calling the charge a “subsistence fee,” the Sheriff’s informed inmates about the fee on March 18th. Any inmate without funds to pay the fee will have it added to an account. Failure to pay off the account on leaving the jail will result on a lien against the inmate.*

According to the Sheriff’s office, the subsistence fee is authorized by Florida Statue 951.033 and is not the only fee the Jail charges inmates:

1) $30 one-time administrative per diem fee when they are booked into the jail
2) Medical co-payment fees: $10 to see a nurse, $15 to see a doctor, $10 pharmacy co-pay, and $75 for off-site transportation for medical visits
3) Weekend inmate work program administration fee: $20 per day ($40 for the weekend)
4) Weekday inmate work program administration fee: $8 per day ($40 per work week)
5) $9 hygiene kit/underwear fee ($1.50 for hygiene kit and $7.50 for five pair of underwear) charged to inmates assigned to housing

The Sheriff’s Office also released the totals for funds collected from inmates in 2008:

$38,182 medical co-payments
$66,426 hygiene items
$313,830 per diem charges
$418,438 Total

* – The lien is spelled out in Florida Statue 951.033

(6) If the prisoner’s cash account at the local detention facility does not contain sufficient funds to cover subsistence costs, the chief correctional officer may place a civil restitution lien against the prisoner’s cash account or other personal property. A civil restitution lien may continue for a period of 3 years and applies to the cash account of any prisoner who is reincarcerated within the county in which the civil restitution lien was originated.

Creative Commons License photo illustration credit: Z Peckler