FRANKFORT, Ind. — Convicted inmates in Clinton County will soon be charged while they stay in jail.
Sheriff Rich Kelly proposed the idea, and county commissioners just passed an ordinance to make it happen.
More than 150 inmates stay at the jail at a time. Now, inmates found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor will be charged up to $30 per day. Sheriff Kelly said a state statute allows him to do this.
"It is a deterrent to be here at the facility," said Sheriff Kelly.
He believes tax payers in Clinton County contribute roughly $4 million to his office every year. A lot of that money goes to maintenance and food.
"Taking care of this facility has been on the backs of tax payers," he said.
He hopes this changes that and places the burden on criminals. The per Diem will start after the first 72 hours. That means a person could fork up $10,860 to stay at the jail for one year. Sheriff Kelly said most sentences at their jail are much shorter.
"If it deterred one person from making a bad decision, than it is worth it to me," he said.
A study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a law and policy institute, said at least a few localities in almost every state allow "pay-to-stay" fees on prisoners. It found these fees are difficult for poor inmates and can make successful reentry into society near impossible for some.
"As far as them incurring debt, that’s a responsibility that every adult has. We all incur debt," Sheriff Kelly said.
He said only people who make more than twice the federal poverty level will be charged.
He thinks they will start the program in August. They will evaluate it a year from now to see if it was worth their while.
Vanderburgh County said they also charge their inmates but only with a one time booking fee. If someone is convicted of a crime, they would pay $50.