Prisoners should pay more, Illinois report says

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Inmates should reimburse the state the cost of their stays in penitentiaries, the Illinois Auditor General said yesterday. Although state law requires inmates to reimburse the state for the costs of imprisonment, Illnois spent nearly $1 billion last year incarcerating juveniles and adults and collected only $2.4 million in reimbursement, says the Chicago Sun-Times.

The auditor general said the state made little effort to collect funds available outside the prison system. The money collected came from docking inmates’ wages for work in prison, medical co-payments and seizing balances over $2,000 that inmates have in department trust funds.

Corrections Department officials said 50 to 75 percent more money may be collected from inmates in the future under a new law requiring a financial disclosure form from each inmate.

Corrections Department spokesman Brian Fairchild said the department supports pursuing assets vigorously, but inmates shouldn’t be financially broken when they leave prison.


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