Many Inmates Are Fined On Top Of Solitary Confinement Terms


Many prison inmates who are determined to have committed a disciplinary infraction are subjected to fines that can amount to hundreds of dollars on top of weeks or months-long solitary sentences, reports the New Republic. The psychological damage caused by extreme isolation and the financial burden of the jail debt can hang over these people once they're released, often making re-entry into society nearly impossible. “When the system is built on punishment, you find every chance you get to damage people more,” said Glenn Martin, who spent six years in New York prisons and founded the criminal justice reform group JustLeadershipUSA. “Unfortunately, prisons in America have evolved into places that are devoid of values such as rehabilitation, fairness and human dignity.”

Officials in at least six states have the authority to impose fines in addition to solitary for a single rule violation. Wyoming charges up to $50, Georgia up to $100, Oregon as much as to $200. Fees in the states of New York, Kansas, and South Dakota range between $5 and $20. (Wyoming, New York State, Georgia, and Kansas dismiss fines once an inmate is released or put them on hold in case the person returns. South Dakota said it doesn't use solitary confinement, but the American Civil Liberties Union contends that the state's isolation policies fit the definition. New York City’s Rikers Island jail puts inmates in extreme isolation and charge them a $25 fee for infractions that include fighting and destruction of jail property, but also for things like disrupting “special activities,” or delaying a guard's daily inmate count.

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