I recently read the November 20th article on “County to collect on inmate debt.”
I was both disappointed and disheartened to say the least. I fully agree that if an individual commits a crime, then they will have to do their time. But I also believe that if you do your time and serve your sentence out, then you have “paid your debt to society.” Having served their time, they should be free to return to society and not be obligated to continue paying for their mistake.
Individuals who have gotten out of the Logan County Detention Center (or any other security facility) are already at a decided disadvantage. They now have a felony charge on their record, and as one judge says, “it’s like having a millstone around their neck.” This makes the transition back into daily life extremely difficult. Without question this is their own fault, but they deserve another chance to get their feet on solid ground. Unfortunately, potential employers are hesitant to hire them.
As a result, the opportunity or ability for this individual and family to keep their head above water is extremely difficult.
Now the magistrates say they want to ask for money from the inmates to pay for their incarceration, and to even go back several years for collection … Somebody is not thinking this through.
These individuals, who have been released, need a hand up. They don’t need another obstacle in their path on their way back to normalcy. Let’s rescind this measure. Just because another city or county has passed this same type of measure doesn’t mean we have to.
Let’s do what is right. The key to getting back on solid ground is church attendance, employment and support from the citizenry.