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Riverside County OKs Inmates To Repay Jail Costs, Eyes ‘Millions’ In Revenue

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textalerts180 Riverside County OKs Inmates To Repay Jail Costs, Eyes Millions In Revenue

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — An ordinance requiring inmates in Riverside County detention facilities to reimburse the county for the cost of their incarceration was approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor John Tavaglione was the lone absentee in a 4-0 vote that approved implementation of the RECORCE measure, officially titled “Require-Every-Convict-Occupant-Reimburse-County-Expenses.”

The ordinance will take effect in 30 days.

“I commend you for pushing this through,” Supervisor Marion Ashley told colleagues. “This could be a great benefit to the county.”

Stone said last week that he anticipated RECORCE potentially returning “millions of dollars” to the county.

“If you do the crime, you’ll do the time and pay the dime,” the supervisor said.

Under RECORCE, convicts who spend a day or more in county jail would be required to undergo financial assessments to determine whether they have the means to repay the county for their time behind bars, which averages $142 per inmate, per day.

County Counsel Pamela Walls emphasized there would be no “debtor’s prison” for individuals unable to pay.

Anyone jailed but not convicted of a crime also would not be liable for the cost of their detention.

According to Stone, the ordinance is intended mainly to recapture public safety dollars spent on jailing individuals with financial means, including white collar criminals and DUI offenders who have jobs.

In accordance with state law, reimbursements would fall behind other sentencing priorities, beginning with victim restitution, fines, public defender compensation and state surcharges, according to the county counsel’s office.

The Riverside County Superior Court Executive Office’s Enhanced Collections Division recovered $50,458 in reimbursable costs to the county during fiscal year 2010-11.

Most of that money was obtained from probationers on payment plans, which numbered around 42,000 cases in 2010-11, according to the court.

The county Probation Department would be responsible for collecting the money, and all remittances would be deposited directly into the county general fund.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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