Illinois inmate Kensley Hawkins is fighting in court to stop the state from seizing 11,000 from his bank account to help pay $455,203.14 to cover the costs of his prison stay since 1982, the Chicago Tribune reports. Hawkins, 60, earned the money by working while he’s been behind bars, making about $75 a month. The issue of whether the state can repossess the meager wages paid to inmates will be determined by the Illinois Supreme Court, which will hear arguments today.
“To save $11,000 is miraculous, but the money we get from this guy means nothing to the state,” said John Maki of the John Howard Association of Illinois, a prison reform organization. “This is not going to help create a prison culture that’s more rehabilitative, which makes people less likely to offend again.” Said Paul Glad of SNR Denton, a law firm that has represented Hawkins since 2005, “I think this is an arbitrary and wrong-headed application of the law where bureaucratic thinking gets in the way of common sense.”