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The Herald News of Fall River has run a story about Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson (R-Dartmouth) and his tag team with Rep. Elizabeth Poirier (R-Attleboro) in order to reinstate the $5-a-day inmate fee.
Four-and-a-half years after a Superior Court judge ruled his $5-a-day inmate fee was unlawful, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson is hoping newly crafted legislation will bring that fee back – and new ones with it.
In a bill sponsored by state Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, R-N. Attleboro, Hodgson is suggesting a daily $5 custodial fee, along with $5 for each sick call or dental visit, a prescription eyeglasses fee and a $3 co-pay for prescription drugs. Poirier said if passed, it will work to mitigate the costs and expenses of incarceration and allow the commissioner of corrections and sheriffs of all Massachusetts counties the power to the schedule the fees.
For those prisoners who cannot pay their bills, no medical services will be withheld, Hodgson said, but a running tab will accrue and each inmate will receive a final bill when they leave the prison. There is one catch – if they stay out of trouble for two years, they don’t have to pay it.
He said with programs across the state getting cut due to dwindling state revenue, now is the time to make the prisoners start paying for their actions instead of taxpayers.