Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick hopes to charge convicted criminals a fee to enable the hiring of more police officers, reports the Boston Globe. Every person convicted of a crime would have to pay a “safety fee.” The stqte already charges a fee to everyone who violates the law. The program generates about $6 million annually to pay for services for witnesses and victims of crime. Fees range from $90 for anyone over age 17 convicted of a felony to $50 for those convicted of a misdemeanor and $45 for anyone who commits a civil motor vehicle infraction, such as speeding.
Patrick estimates that the new fee will raise $10 million annually, about half of the $20 million he expects to spend to hire 250 additional police officers Patrick wants eventually to add 1,000 new police officers to the streets, at a cost of $85 million. Leslie Walker of Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, which represents inmates, said that, “While this may sound logical initially, most defendants are indigent and are already assessed a number of fees. Those who are sent to prison have to pay to see doctors, and get haircuts, and who ends up paying? Their families.”