Editorial roundup

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Dec. 21

In theory, making convicted criminals pay to stay in jail seems like a fine way to teach them a lesson…

But such a policy can also ironically fuel recidivism by shackling poor inmates with so much debt that they fall deeper into poverty and into desperation, spurring further crimes. That’s one of the findings of a recent report, “In Jail and In Debt: Ohio’s Pay-to-Stay Fees,” by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

The report ought to prompt state officials to crack down on the jails charging the poor what appear to be excessive fees. Lawmakers also should revisit the 2004 Ohio law that allowed Ohio counties to charge jail fees, to impose stricter limitations on charges for the indigent.

Ohio Revised Code 2929.37 currently mandates that the confinement fees should not “exceed the total amount that the prisoner is able to pay.”…

Cuyahoga County does not impose such a fee, the report found. However, the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio west of Toledo, which houses inmates from several counties, charges $66.09 a day without regard to inmates’ ability to pay, according to the ACLU Ohio report…

The legislature should rewrite the law to impose a cap on pay-to-stay and related fees for the indigent…

Online: http://bit.ly/1NHTTGQ


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