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Riverside County may charge inmates for incarceration costs

Riverside County supervisors voted this week to move forward with an ordinance that would force jail inmates to reimburse the county for the costs of incarcerating them.

The supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to consider the measure introduced by Supervisor Jeff Stone. It will come back for a vote next week.

Stone, who referred to the jails as “prison hotels” during the meeting, listed the average daily cost of incarceration as $142.42 per inmate.

The county counsel wrote in a memo to the board that state law allows for reimbursement of incarceration costs, but to collect them the court must determine the defendant is able to pay.

The memo noted that the court did not expect a significant increase in revenue if the ordinance is adopted because “those defendants who are convicted of crimes and incarcerated typically have limited funds” and the jail reimbursement would come after higher-priority collections, including victim restitution, fines, penalties and assessments.

Stone said he expected the measure would bring in $3 million to $5 million a year.

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-- Abby Sewell

 
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