At $249 per day, prison stays leave ex inmates deep in debt

Pay-to-stay laws were put into place in many areas during the tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and ’90s. As prison populations ballooned, policymakers questioned how to pay for incarceration costs.

At $249 per day, prison stays leave ex inmates deep in debt

Build it and they will come, seems to be the logic behind the US prison system. State and federal governments build prisons and fill them with low-income people locked up based on extreme laws, fines, and sentences and pay for it using taxpayers money when in reality, crime is not that much of a problem.

Drug possession and use, warrants issued for traffic fines, domestic abuse and petty thefts account for most of the incarceration rates whereas murder, rape, and other serious crimes are a small percentage of the prison population. But they have to fill the prisons some way, somehow.

On top of this exploitation of low-income people, they charge them for being in prison to recoup taxpayers money no one ask them to use, seeing the prison industry has become more privatized over the years. This is an injustice to society and fits in the category of systemic racism because the system does not rehabilitate, it is in place to apparently create debtors.

"Two decades after her release from prison, Teresa Beatty feels she is still being punished.

When her mother died two years ago, the state of Connecticut put a lien on the Stamford home she and her siblings inherited. It said she owed $83,762 to cover the cost of her 2 1/2 year imprisonment for drug crimes.

Now, she’s afraid she’ll have to sell her home of 51 years, where she lives with two adult children, a grandchild and her disabled brother.

“I’m about to be homeless,” said Beatty, 58, who in March became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the state law that charges prisoners $249 a day for the cost of their incarceration. “I just don’t think it’s right, because I feel I already paid my debt to society. I just don’t think it’s fair for me to be paying twice.”

All but two states have so-called “pay-to-stay” laws that make prisoners pay for their time behind bars, though not every state actually pursues people for the money. Supporters say the collections are a legitimate way for states to recoup millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prisons and jails.

Pay-to-stay laws were put into place in many areas during the tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and ’90s, said Brittany Friedman, an assistant professor of sociology at University of Southern California who is leading a study of the practice.

As prison populations ballooned, Friedman said, policymakers questioned how to pay for incarceration costs. “So, instead of raising taxes, the solution was to shift the cost burden from the state and the taxpayers onto the incarcerated.” SOURCE

This system is a blatant exploitation of people by the government and the wealthy who invest in private prisons. Under the laws of humanity, it brings a divine curse on the nation because it is oppression of the poor driven by the love of money.