Prisons Shouldn't Create Debtors

Article reviewing the increasing prevalence of “pay-to-stay” policies enacted to combat the costs of mass incarceration and their effects on on inmates and their families.

From the Brennan Center for Justice article:

Illinois' Johnnie Melton is no model citizen. By January 2013, he had been convicted on drug-related charges at least three times. But when state officials sued Melton for nearly $20,000 to pay for his "care, custody, treatment or rehabilitation" during 14 months served at the state's Logan Correctional Center, Melton decided to fight the bill. The Fourth District Appellate Court ruled that he must pay the charges and the state took his assets.

Melton's case is an example of how many localities fund their criminal justice systems largely through fees assessed on the incarcerated, the majority of whom are indigent. Read more.