Recovering Costs of Jailing Inmates

This photo released Thursday, March 17, 2005, by the California Department of Corrections shows Scott Peterson during the intake process at San Quentin Prison in San Quentin, Calif. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi on Wednesday accepted the jury's recommendation that Peterson be sentenced to death, calling the killing of Laci Peterson and her fetus "cruel, uncaring, heartless and callous." (AP Photo/California Department of Correction)
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In his days as Eaton County Sheriff, Senator Rick Jones charged prisoners of the county jail $42.50 a day.

"Currently if you're convicted of a crime, and you get put in a county jail, you pay rent," said Jones.

His bill, SB 393, would change the law so cities, villages, and townships with jails or lockups could also seek reimbursement. As it stands, only municipalities in counties with 500,000 or more people can do so.

"Why should the taxpayers pay for somebody who's been convicted? There's cost of feeding, heat, cooling, electric," said Jones.

If passed the bill would benefit Lansing Police.

"Those resources could go toward patrols, our investigations division, to assist our department in meeting its goals for crime fighting and quality of life issues," said Captain Daryl Green with LPD.

"There's a huge cost to cities, whenever they have a basketball final and people riot," said Jones.

The city of East Lansing spent $10,000 on St. Patrick's day alone: $5,000 in police overtime and another $5,000 for cleanup.

"The costs certainly do add up, and with revenue sharing declining, and property tax value declining, there's less revenue available for police, and other public safety services," said ELPD Chief Juli Liebler.

It costs East Lansing $500,000 a year to run its jail.

"It wouldn't completely pay for it but it would certainly help," said Liebler.

East Lansing locked up 38 people on St. Patrick's day.

Each municipality would have to calculate the exact cost to inmates, not exceeding $60 a day.

The bill has already passed the state senate. It still needs the green light from the house and the governor's signature to become law.

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