Nevada may be the first state in the country to charge inmates for food and medical care.
The Elko County Commission approved Sheriff Jim Pitts’ proposal to charge inmates $6 a day for meals, $10 for each doctor visit and $5 for initial booking into the jail.
“Why should the people of Elko County pay for somebody else’s meals in jail?” said Commissioner Grant Gerber, a backer of the plan who thinks the fees should be higher. Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU Nevada, said that depending on how indigents and others who can’t afford the fees are treated, the county could be in for a legal fight over the edict to prisoners that there is no free lunch.
“I was aghast that anyone was even thinking of doing this,” he told The Associated Press. “It is unconstitutional — cruel and unusual punishment.”
It cost about $85 per day to cover the costs of food, services, housing and utilities at the facility per inmate. That amounts to a total of roughly $10,000 a day for 120 inmates housed at the jail.
“We’re not the Hilton,” he told the Elko Daily Free Press, which first reported approval of the plan on its website Thursday. “These guys shouldn’t have a free ride.”
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