Nevada prison to charge inmates for food and medical care

February 11, 2014 in News by The Manimal

Source: Intelli Hub

On Wednesday, The Elko County Commission approved Sheriff Jim Pitts’ proposal to charge inmates at the Elko County jail $6 a day for meals, $10 for each doctor visit and $5 for initial booking into the jail.  This is especially alarming considering that the vast majority of people behind bars are only “guilty” of nonviolent crimes, and there are also many who are wrongfully imprisoned.

Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU Nevada, told the The Associated Press that “I was aghast that anyone was even thinking of doing this”. “It is unconstitutional — cruel and unusual punishment.”

“There is no value in trying to punish them further than the sentence that they are already serving,” Story said.

Story said the fees for food likely are more vulnerable to legal challenge than charging for doctor visits.

“Some jails charge a very minimal copayment for medical services, but it’s based entirely on an inmate’s ability to pay, or capacity to pay,” he said. “But the food is not even a question. Once somebody has entered into the system, they become the responsibility of the state.”

It is important to understand how fallible and corrupt the legal system is when reading stories about people in prison, because many innocent people end up behind bars. Even among those technically “guilty” of breaking some law, a vast majority (nearly 70% according to some statistics) are peaceful people, or so called nonviolent offenders who don’t belong in prison to begin with. These people are not guilty of any transgression, and they are in fact themselves victims of state violence.