Jail fee idea questionable | SummitDaily.com

Jail fee idea questionable

It sure sounds good. Let’s charge inmates the $81.10 a day, or some part of it, that it costs to house them in the Summit County Justice Center.

The question is, in many cases, where is the inmate going to get the money? And what kind of chance does an inmate have on the outside faced with a bad history and a crushing debt load?

If this idea is followed to its logical extreme, taxpayers will soon be paying for a debtors prison to punish those who can’t pay.

Some sense can be made of the idea. Perhaps a means testing would work for some inmates who run afoul of the law but come from an established position in life.

For others, a work program might help offset some of the cost of incarceration. Heck, we know a lot of noxious weeds could stand to be pulled along the county’s paved bike path system.

County Commissioner Bill Wallace has started asking some of these questions as the pay-as-you-stay proposal nears formal county commission consideration.

County Commissioner Tom Long raises another point about the county collecting fees before victims receive some kind of restitution.

This idea should be put in the isolation block until answers are given.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard and Martha Lunsky.

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