In Florida, with the nation’s third-largest prison system, authorities have found a new way to make sure an inmate pays his debt to society: increasing the price of items from its canteens by 244 per cent, says the Christian Science Monitor. Profits from the snack shops – about $30 million in 2008 – help the state grapple with a $6 billion deficit. Missouri’s Taney County spent $27 million on a new state-of-the-art jail with facilities that might rival anything found locally through an online hotel search. The nightly tariff is a competitive $45; county leaders are determined that their ‘guests’ pay their own way.
Georgia lawmakers have discussed a $40-a-day fee for inmates deemed able to afford it. One of the highest prisoner tariffs, $60-a-night, was recently approved in Springfield, Or. Others are taking a piecemeal approach to raising money from detainees. In Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s prisoners pay $1.25 a day for meals; weekend-only inmates pay a fee in Virginia’s Hanover and Caroline Counties, contributing $29,000 a year to the running costs of Pamunkey jail; in Ware County, Ga., fees are deducted from inmates’ accounts for medical and dental expenses.