When Lake County, Il., Jail inmates behaved, officials ordered a little weekend entertainment from Netflix, showing such hits as “Schindler’s List” and “Hotel Rwanda,” says the Chicago Tribune. “We didn’t let the inmates choose them,” said Richard Liddle, the jail’s inmate program manager. “Or we’d have been watching ‘(The Texas) Chainsaw Massacre.'” The curtain has been dropped on the perk now that the jail’s $35 monthly Netflix subscription has been canceled – a tiny portion of the $2 million in budget cuts that Sheriff Mark Curran disclosed yesterday.
The weekend movies were a victim of an increasingly tight budget, even if it’s just an indirect drop in his department’s $60 million spending plan. Prisoners paid for the Netflix subscription with what they spent in the commissary on candy, toiletries and other items. That fund also paid the $5,000 to $6,000 annual licensing fee that organizations must buy if they show movies to large groups. Curran also cut newspaper and magazine subscriptions from about $5,000 to $1,000. The savings, officials said, will be used for other things that drain the county budget, such as inmate uniforms. The movies weren’t perks for the inmates so much as an activity that helped guards maintain order and “keep everybody chilling out,” Curran said. Most of the $2 million in budget cuts comes from such things as reducing overtime for the security detail at the courthouse – $400,000. Or reclassifying positions – saving $845,000 in wages.