New Ordinance Requires Inmates To Reimburse County For Incarceration Costs

If an inmate ends up serving a yearlong sentence in one of the county's five detention facilities, the annual cost adds up to about $52,000.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today authorized the drafting of an ordinance that would require inmates at county detention facilities to reimburse the county for the cost of their incarceration.

Supervisor Jeff Stone brought the idea forward, labeling it "Require Every Convict Occupant Reimburse County Expenses,'' or RECORCE, which highlights the $142-a-day expense of housing, feeding, clothing, guarding and providing medical treatment for each detainee.

"The goal of this ordinance would be to ... send a message to those who are considering committing crimes in our county: Not only will you spend time in jail, but you'll also end up paying for it,'' Stone said.

He said if an inmate ends up serving a yearlong sentence in one of the county's five detention facilities, the annual cost adds up to about $52,000.

"We should be reimbursed for the expenses we encounter,'' the supervisor said. "We should look under every nook and cranny to find out the costs that can be recovered. This is about minimizing the cost to taxpayers.''

Supervisors Marion Ashley and John Benoit questioned whether the measure would have any practical application, considering that the majority of inmates have limited or no financial means.

According to Stone, the measure would be targeted at people convicted of misdemeanors who have assets and jobs.

"They should be held responsible for their actions,'' he said. "Even if it nets only two or three million dollars a year, that's money that closes the (budget) gap in the Sheriff's Department. We spend more on a convict in Riverside County jails than what some people pay to send their kids to college. It's appalling.''

Stone said cost recovery would be accomplished with the help of the District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Probation Department, Sheriff's Department and the courts.

Judges regularly impose court processing fees on convicts, and Stone indicated that RECORCE could be combined with that.

The board directed the Office of County Counsel to study how to implement the ordinance and return in four months with proposed language. --City News Service

Wizard Without Remorse June 08, 2011 at 06:20 AM
Well of course, this is a no-brainer - inmates can't vote so who would complain! The fact that matters was partially pointed out by other (smarter) Supervisors, most crooks don't have any money. This will require the County spend money to set up and run a system for collection. Supervisor Stone suggests the Sheriff and Probation Department, District Attorney, Public Defender and Courts will collect this. Then he turns around and shoots his own foot by pointing out the Sheriff is being "forced" to lay off over 100 deputies. Bet he didn't bother to ask any of his department heads for their thoughts on how to pay for this program. Hey, I got an idea, let's create a tax on the tax collector, nobody likes them and they must have some money lying around. They already have a system in place. Stupid, stupid, stupid, Sup. Stone!
Debra S June 08, 2011 at 02:12 PM
What criminal is going to stop committing crimes because he'll need to pay back the cost of incarceration! The risk of going to jail does not stop criminal activity, nor would having to pay for their own incarceration.
John June 09, 2011 at 06:11 PM
The article says they would target those who committed misdemeanors and with assets. So if you are able to pay your bills, and commit a crime, Riverside County will be sure to make it so you can't be financially stable. And what you have to understand about Riverside County, if you don't work for a government agency, you are a criminal. Speak out against corruption.


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