If you do your time for a Texas crime, you could soon get a bill for a weekend jail stay, says the Austin American-Statesman. Under a bill in the state Senate, counties could charge a daily rate, just like a hotel, for scofflaws that check in for weekends and at night, an increasingly popular way of sentencing that helps offenders keep their daytime jobs. “We are overcrowded and are trying to get as much revenue as we can to make our budget,” said Bill Campbell of the Travis County Sheriff’s Department. “People who are working have the ability to pay, where others don’t, and our purpose is to try to give taxpayers a break.”
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, the bill’s author, said that prisoners who cannot afford to pay would not be charged. Weekend jail sentences have been around for years with the idea that if offenders are allowed to serve their sentences on weekends and keep their weekday jobs, they are more likely to pay fines and stay out of trouble. Officials estimated that the state would earn $900,000 annually anbd help defray the growing cost of jailing inmates, currently $58 a day.