Digital News Report – Sacramento – Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) announced today that his Pay to Stay prison fee bill (SB 1364) was rejected by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The legislation would have allowed local and state law enforcement officials to charge various fees to prisoners to offset the costs of incarceration.
“All over California people are scrimping to make ends meet – except in our prisons. Criminals receive room and board, Cadillac health care, three square meals and are able to purchase goods and treats at a discount,” said Harman. “Taxpayers are sick of a legislature that places more value on the comfort of prisoners than the needs of innocent, hard working Californians.”
SB 1364 would give the California Department of Corrections and county sheriffs the authority to set up programs to charge inmates in their facilities nominal fees for discretionary items and a per diem room and board fee. The fees would be capped at $25 a day.
This idea was modeled after a program created by Sheriff Thomas Hodgson in Bristol County Massachusetts that netted that county $700,000 in two years. Sheriff Hodgson testified at today’s Committee Hearing and answered questions about how his program was implemented.
The bill failed passage on a party line vote.
“The failure of the bill is just another example of how law abiding citizens are ignored,” commented Sheriff Hodgson.
“Pay to Stay makes sense both from a fiscal standpoint and in helping to stop California’s recidivism revolving door. Unfortunately, SB 1364’s failure is just another example of the state legislature being out of step with common-sense and taxpayers,” stated Harman
Senate Bill 1364 would have forgiven the debt of an indigent prisoner that stayed out of prison for two years after release. The measure also offered incentives for inmates that participated in rehabilitation or education programs. California’s recidivism rate currently stands at 70% and less than half of the inmates in state prison participate in any program to better themselves.