Prison Inmates Charged For Jail Stay, Left Buried In Debt When They Get Out

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
By Paul Martin

By John Vibes
NOVEMBER 10, 2015

Did you know that people who end up in prison for a variety of different reasons have a very good chance of being charged a fee for every day that they stay behind bars as if they were voluntarily staying at a hotel?

According to a new ACLU report, this is exactly what is happening all across the United States, in select prisons where these policies have been enacted. The BBC reported that roughly 10 million people in the United States owe a combined total of over $10 billion in “pay-to-stay” prison debt.

Obviously, these fees can make a bad situation even worse for people who are serving time for petty crimes, especially considering that most of the people who do end up behind bars come from lives of poverty to begin with. Now, when many of these inmates are released from prison they are unable to get back on their feet due to this crippling debt.

Some people who have been arrested for petty offenses, many drug-related, are released from jail with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt that make it near impossible for them to rebuild their lives.

David Mahoney, for example, is a former inmate who is now $21,000 in debt after being in and out of jail for most of his life. Now that he has cleaned up his act, he is still haunted from the fees for his stay in prison.

“Obviously, it’s my fault I’m in the situation I am in. I’m trying to start over. People that end up in jail are usually down on their luck anyway. They’re going through some trials and tribulations in life. Why focus on the people who are already struggling?” he said.

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