Martin County Ends "Pay for Stay" Jail Program
Since 2003, inmates being held at the Martin County jail have been charged a daily fee in an effort to help compensate for maintenance costs.
But one former inmate filed a lawsuit in federal court disagreeing with the way the "Pay for Stay" program was conducted.
A federal court judge ruled that the jail needed to continuously monitor a prisoner's financial status to ensure the person can pay before being charged, a procedure the county decided wouldn't be beneficial.
Martin County attorney Terry Viesselman said "In looking at how we would do that, we determined it would be way too burdensome for the Sheriff's office to do that. Probably tie up a person's time to do that and that's just not economically feasible."
Under "Pay for Stay," inmates were charged $25 per day which generated $16,000 a year in revenue, just 5% of the total billing costs for the facility.
The future of the building is still in question, as county officials decide how to solve a lack of space.
Chief deputy for Martin County Sheriff Corey Klanderud said "We hope that ending this program won't have any effect on future plans for expansion or building something new. Our current inmate population is more than we can house in our current facility."
The jailhouse is averaging 36 prisoners per day, even though its capacity is only 25.
The cancellation of the "Pay for Stay" program on Tuesday took effect immediately, meaning Martin County is no longer receiving collections from past or present inmates.
- KEYC 12