New York Town to Start Charging In-mates for Jail Stays
Geneva NY- Given concerns over decreased revenues flowing into municipalities many cities around the country have had to become increasingly creative in their responses to the new economic realities. Perhaps none more so than the sleepy upstate New York town of Geneva.
In the past two years incoming taxes have plummeted by thirty percent. Initial attempts to offset these losses -by tailgating unsuspecting citizens at suspiciously quick yellow lights and subsequently ticketing them for running the red light, in order to avoid a collision- has had a large measure of success. This windfall, however, has not been enough to off set extra man hours local law enforcement has had to log in order to quell the crime wave that commenced shortly after the criminals realized the cops were unlikely to respond to real crimes.
Combatting this crime wave also had the consequence of over taxing the cities lone detention center. It has now surpassed maximum holding capacity and the fire marshall has threatened to shut the facility down.
That is where those creative responses come in and Warden Ted Danson has come across a solution that is novel by any standards. As he explained it to The Vitamin Press, “As some of you might know I used to be a television actor before I became an environmental activist which ultimately lead to my second career as a prison warden.”
“Strange as it may initially seem the progression is really quite natural. I went from recycling television scripts, to recycling cans and now I do my best to recycle people.”. Danson continued and explained the genesis of his plan.
“When I was starring as Heathcliff Huxtable on the popular 80′s program The Cosby Show we ran into a bit of trouble when the little girl that played Rudy developed a bit of a prescription pill problem. It wasn’t really a big deal so far as I was concerned until she started pilfering from my stash. Luckily I was able to quell the practice with a quickness by making her pay for all the drugs she was stealing from me. In short enough order she was getting her party favors from some place else.”
“And that is basically where the “Pay to Stay” program came from. If we make these inmates pay for their incarceration we can easily recoup the cost of all their time with us and ensure that we are catering to only the most serious and committed of criminals. And if they can’t afford to pay then out they go. I’m running a jail here, not a YMCA.”
Not everybody is a fan of the new initiative. The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued the city and issued a public statement condemning the measure. According to that statement: “In America penal rehabilitation should not be merely the privilege of the richest of the rich. This initiative hurts those that need access to jails the most, women and minorities.”