Prison Officials Spying on Inmates to Find Net Worth, Suing Anyone Worth Over $10K for Stay in Jail


Andrew Emett | The Free Thought Project | AlterNet | December 2, 2015

These predatory prison departments are willing to sacrifice people’s futures in order to fuel their failing, bloated budgets.

With the ability to read their mail and record their phone conversations, state prisons have increasingly been filing lawsuits against inmates with over $10,000 in assets. In cases of blatant retaliation, prison officials have also been targeting inmates who won civil suits against the departments for prison beatings and denying medication.

In 1846, Michigan introduced the first correctional fee law authorizing counties to charge prisoners for the cost of medical care. According to a report released earlier this year from the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 35 states are currently authorized to charge inmates for medical treatment. And at least 43 states allow officials to charge prisoners for the cost of their own imprisonment.

While incarcerated on a drug conviction, Johnny Melton received a $31,690 settlement over the wrongful death of his mother. After learning of the settlement, the Illinois Department of Corrections sued Melton and won nearly $20,000 to cover the cost of his “care, custody, treatment or rehabilitation” during his 14 months served at the state’s Logan Correctional Center.

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