Massachusetts inmates may be billed for jail time

Critics are concerned the fees could hurt prisoner's families.

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – State prison spending continues to soar. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would charge inmates daily fees for services they receive in prison, including medical, dental and eye care.

Shelter, food and medical care for inmate’s costs taxpayers about $76 dollars a day, according to Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. He’s asking lawmakers to support a bill to allow commissioners or county sheriffs to impose fees on prisoner’s including $5 dollars a day for custodial services.

If a prisoner can’t pay the fee, they can still receive these services, but they’ll be handed a bill when they get out of jail. Under current law, Massachusetts allows prisons to charge some fees for services like haircuts and prescriptions.

Hodgson told 22News the proposal is aimed at teaching inmates financial responsibility and giving relief to taxpayers. “We can’t keep asking tax payers to cut their personal benefits at home for the rising cost of the prison,” said Sheriff Hodgson.

Critics are concerned the fees could hurt prisoner’s families.

Several states, charge prisoners daily fees for room and board or medical expenses.