Friday, December 26, 2014

Speaking of fees: $35 admission fee for prisons?

City is considering a fee for entry into city jails Link: Admission fee to city jails to raise revenue? [Inky]

Speaking of fees: $35 admission fee for prisons?

City is considering a fee for entry into city jails

Link: Admission fee to city jails to raise revenue? [Inky]

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.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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