Seeking ways to raise revenue, Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Louis Giorla floated a proposal yesterday to charge criminals money to get in to city jails.
That was enough to stump city Managing Director Camille Barnett.
"Does anyone actually charge admission to get into jail?" asked Barnett, who listened to Giorla's proposal during a nearly three-hour public budget meeting focusing on spending by the Prisons, Police and Fire Departments.
In fact, Giorla responded, some prisons do charge admission fees, although he did not immediately identify them.
At first, Mayor Nutter, who was also at the meeting held in the Municipal Service Building, snickered and held his head in his hands.
After the meeting, however, the mayor said: "It is certainly something to be explored."
One previous study found Philadelphia inmates had an average of $35 on hand during the intake process, Giorla said. Acknowledging that many offenders wouldn't be able to pay, he estimated the so-called admission fee would generate $300,000 a year.