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NY: Rich Inmates to Foot the Bill

July 21, 2009

NY Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco introduced a bill, dubbed the ‘Madoff Bill,’ which would charge the cost of keeping prisoners to the prisoners themselves.

For anyone who believes crime doesn’t pay, tell that to the New York state legislator who introduced a “Madoff” bill on Monday. Rich New Yorkers convicted of crimes would be forced — if his bill becomes law — to pay the state and federal governments for how much it costs to keep them in jail.

I am particularly interested in this bill as I recently took a new job with the State Comptroller’s office and I know how important the cost of keeping prisoners in jail is to the state. Thomas DiNapoli, NY’s current Comptroller, estimated the cost to the state of New York is $90 per day per prisoner, bringing the grand total to $1 Billion per year.

That is money coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets. Maybe it will be incentive for people to commit less crime. Not only will you be imprisoned, have a record that will follow you forever, pay fines, but now you will be charged to stay in that 12 by 12 cell, as well. It may not be as comfy as the Hilton, but, hey, it’s home.

I read once that 97% of crimes in Japan are solved, but only 17% of MURDERS in the U.S. are solved. So, if a Japanese man commits a crime, he must be in desperation, because the overwhelming probability is that he will be caught. The opposite is true for murderers in the US, let alone other criminals. I am not sure on those numbers, so don’t quote me on that.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2009 9:42 am

    Excellent bill, but it falls short.

    Every prisoner, not just federal, but also state and local. should have to repay not only the cost of providing jail cells, but also the expense of lawyers and courts to prosecute them.

    Did you know that federal law requires cable TV for all jail cells? lets get that law repealed.

    We should build factories that require difficult physical exertioon and danger next to all prisons and prisoners must be forced to work

    • July 22, 2009 9:31 am

      I hadn’t heard of the cable TV thing. That’s interesting.

      It’s a tough call, though, when dealing with prisoners. Do we treat them harshly so they don’t want to go back to the clink? Or do they continue to live a life of crime because we are too harsh and they get mentally and emotionally beaten down to the point of no return? I agree with making them pay in a fiscal sense. I just don’t have an answer for the punishment question.

      Historically, harsher punishment didn’t necessarily mean less crime (Hammurabi’s code, Vlad Ţepeş, etc), whereas, communities with less corporal punishment (American Indian tribes, African communal tribes) seemed to breed more respect for self reliance, resulting in more respect for personal laws. I’m not saying that lessening sentences would work in today’s modern American society; perhaps we have gone too far off the deep end for that.

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