Recovering Costs of Jailing Inmates

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
Getting locked up can cost you more than your criminal record. A bill moving through the legislature would allow cities like Lansing and East Lansing to charge inmates rent.

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)

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.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 5, 2012 at 06:19 AM
    To be honest, I am SICK of my tax dollars going to jailbirds, and every other welfare give away's. They have a lot of luxuries in jail, that alot of hard working people do not have. Michigan needs to change.
  • by Marquis Location: Lansing on Mar 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
    Not only are they wrong for attempting such acts. They should be brought up on charges. Their are more underline issues to such a bill. Minorites & homeless look out. I can see it know at least the great state of Michigan will get a dollar for taking you to jail. "Life" It's hard enough for inmates to stabilize them selves. To even get a job to afford bare necessities. Try following up & do a story on all the hoops the fees you have to navigate after acquiring your freedom. My younger brother 17 at the time now 21. Was jailed pulled over while walking to work. Between steep court fines, parole fees. The inability to find work. Because of assumptions of a mere marijuana case. Now with a jail recorded that place his life into a 3-4 year plunge that he is only now able to start balancing out. Sounds more like a class war. I can easily see that such fees would have broken his spirt. Taken at least 1-2 more years for him to straighten out. Would have left the kid down & out for the count. If known one else can see the issue with such bills then god help us were lost. With no hope of finding are selves.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM
    I think if you are arrested and released as not guilty then you should not be charged, for any other reason, out on bail, guilty of anything from DUI to murder you pay for you stay.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 08:06 AM
    well, it should be those who are arrested and convicted of a crime. If they are arrested and the charges dropped, they should not be charged.
  • by Trina Location: East Lansing on Mar 26, 2012 at 06:12 AM
    So does the proposed legislation only apply to those who have actually been CONVICTED of a crime? It doesn't seem right to charge those who have only been arrested and are unable to make bail.
    • reply
      by Dan on Mar 27, 2012 at 09:19 AM in reply to Trina
      As I understand it, the fee is assessed with court costs and other fees upon conviction or plea.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2012 at 04:56 AM
    Seems fair to me, why should I have to pay for food, roof over their heads, clothes, and in some cases an education. They did the crime they should have to pay for what was done in all ways.
  • by huh? on Mar 24, 2012 at 07:14 PM
    Really Mandy? Those people didn't ask to be in there? They generally don't go around locking up innocent people. You usually do something to get in there. And, I think it's a great idea.Let's try the prisons next.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 24, 2012 at 06:53 AM
    The law needs to also tag the monies so people like Virg Bernero use it as intended. NOT for other things like paying higher wages to his cronies.
  • by Thomas Location: Lansing on Mar 24, 2012 at 05:20 AM
    If "convicted" criminals are charged a daily fee what happens if they cannot afford the cost? Do we jail them for nonpayment? This looks like a vicious cycle for the poor people in this state who make bad choices. A person paying the maximum of $60 per day would owe $21,900 per year. Those with wives and kids would see their family suffer financially and they would probably end up on welfare which would not save the state any money. The USA has more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world. Our prisons incarcerate a large percentage of those convicted of either alcohol or drug related crimes. Over 50% of our prisoners have mental health problems that go untreated.
    • reply
      by Spring on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM in reply to Thomas
      Fine then. No money. No problem. Get you rear end out there on the chain gang and start cleaning something instead of sitting around watching tv, lifting weights, or getting raped..
  • by mandymorse on Mar 24, 2012 at 04:11 AM
    If they think they can easily get these inmates to pay that bill when they get out, they are crazy. they will put even more money in trying to collect it. thosw people didnt ask to be put there.
    • reply
      by RT on Mar 24, 2012 at 06:50 AM in reply to mandymorse
      My co-workers and I had that very we charge someone monetarily for their jail time: they can't/won't pay the bill: we arrest them and put them in jail for not paying their bill: they can't won't pay their bill...when does it stop?? Maybe we should take a lesson from Sherrif Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona if we want to get our jail/prison costs under countrol!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM in reply to mandymorse
      Mandy you need to come back to earth, these are people who broke the law. They are not inocent, poor people who just got arested for nothing. Some of these people have college degrees or come from "good Homes" Please get your head out of the clouds. These people made choices, just like you and I do. Only their choices were WRO NG!!!! If you were the victim of a crime you would feel a lot differently.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 27, 2012 at 08:01 AM in reply to
        That tent city looks very nice to those prisoners.
  • Page:
WILX 500 American Road Lansing, MI 48911 517-393-0110
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 144037706 -
Gray Television, Inc.