Some 1,162 Philadelphia prison inmates collected unemployment benefits while sitting in their cells, says the Philadelphia Daily News. They got an average of $344 a week for, on average, 18 weeks. That’s more than $7 million. Many of the 25,500 inmates in other county jails in Pennsylvania did the same.
The state says such payments are ending under a new program, and unemployment-compensation payments to 3,000 inmates have stopped, saving up to $18 million a year. How did this cons’ con happen? “Not sure,” says Philadelphia Prison System information officer Shawn Dawes. “It just wasn’t on anybody’s radar.” City prisons commissioner Louis Giorla praised state efforts, adding: “Offenders who are already in custody and supported by public funds should not be able to collect twice.” A recent audit in South Carolina showed that inmates were getting unemployment benefits. Last year, Arizona found that 475 felons collected $1.1 million.