Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Court Costs and Jail Time Don’t Mix

Posted By on September 15, 2009

Grits for Breakfast writes, “Inmate families offer the best and most frequently cited source of assistance for offenders who want to turn their lives around, but too often the state treats them as criminals, too, instead of as partners in promoting their loved ones’ rehabilitation.  Inmate families viewed as revenue source instead of anti-recidivism partners.

Counties are raiding inmate commissary funds to pay for court costs.  Commissary is what inmates’ girlfriends, wives, or parents send so inmates can buy stamps,  Ramen Noodles, and fans, among other things.

Grits is a smart guy, and he makes a great point – that the state’s punishing the very people who’re our best hope of turning inmates’ lives around.  They should be encouraging families, not punishing them.

But I also sort of think it misses the mark – not just that it’s cheap to go after prisoners’ envelope money (while also overcharging them for the envelopes in the first place).  But also that there’s just something deranged about putting somebody in a cell, depriving him of making a living, and then demanding money from him.

What part of ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it’ do they not understand?


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