US Marijuana Party

Monday, November 28, 2005

County collects $10,000 from inmates

By Valerie Schremp Hahn

An effort to reduce costs at the St. Charles County Jail by charging some inmates for their stay has brought in a little more than $10,000 since the program began in May.

The county may have to wait awhile to get the remaining $465,000 or so it has billed former inmates. More than $300,000 of that is in bills going to inmates who went from the county jail to state prison. Their local jail bill will be waiting for them when they get out.

While the money the county has collected is just over 2 percent of what they are seeking, county jail director Col. Alan Stahl said he expected a slow return at the outset.

Marty Robinson, director of the Missouri Public Defender system, says he's not opposed to people who can afford it to pay their way at the jail, but he questions whether the program is cost-effective.

"I think the practical matter is, how do you collect money from people who don't have money? The odds of collecting anything are very low; the odds of it costing you money to recover it are 100 percent."


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