Anderson County to consider inmate fees

Associated Press • Aug 13, 2013 at 1:56 PM

CLINTON, Tenn. (AP) — Anderson County officials might state charging jail inmates for necessities like toothpaste and toilet paper.

The county commissioners are poised to consider the idea this month as the county plans to house state and federal inmates.

Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager told the Associated Press that he drafted the resolutions and said state law would support their adoption.

Another of the resolutions would charge misdemeanor offenders a fee for each day they are jailed. Yet another would require inmates taking GED or other scholastic testing to pay for it.

As county officials prepare to open a 212-bed jail addition, Yeager said the county is looking for ways to offset the cost of housing inmates, which includes about $1 million per year to pay some 36 additional jailers.

The law director said the resolutions are among several he's in the process of preparing that would "put some of the (financial) burden on the inmate instead of the taxpayer."

Yeager has drawn up a list of what he said are the costs for various items. They include $9.15 for pants, $6.90 for gowns worn by female inmates, 29 cents for toilet paper, 4 cents for a toothbrush and a nickel for a sanitary napkin.

The county commission meets Aug. 19.

Yeager said he is also preparing other resolutions for the commission's operations committee meeting next month. Among them is one that would convert part of the jail into a workhouse. Under the plan, inmates with jobs would leave the jail to go to work and spend the nights in jail, paying their room and board while incarcerated.

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