A good case in point is a law that was put on the books back in the 1980s that
allows the state to sue inmates and force them to pay for the cost of their
I remember when that law was debated more than a quarter of a century ago.
I thought the measure was mean spirited and of little value then. And I still
In case our lawmakers havenít noticed, our prisons are full of people who were
reared in poverty and whose potential for rising out of it is limited by their
Suing someone for the cost of their incarceration reminds me of the Chinese
practice under Mao Zedong of billing family members of executed prisoners for
the cost of the bullet.
Itís just plain mean.
Instead of trying to heap more punishment on the newly released, Illinois should
do everything it can to help them get back on their feet.
But Illinois doesnít.
For example, under state licensing laws, felons can be barred from more than a
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We should be doing everything we can to help folks get jobs.
Thatís why we should eliminate such barriers.
And thatís how I feel about this nonsense of suing folks for the
cost of their incarcerations.
And apparently Iím not the only one who feels that way.
New legislation would repeal the practice of suing prisoners and
parolees for the cost of their incarceration.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, and State Sen. Daniel Biss ,
D-Evanston, have introduced bills in the legislature that would
prohibit the Illinois Department of Corrections from suing inmates
for the cost of their room and board.
ďThe odds are stacked against the men and women coming out of our
prison system and attempting to put their lives back together. Any
barrier to reentry is a path to recidivism. We need to be doing
everything in our power to remove those barriers, not add more,Ē
She couldnít be more right.
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