Prisoner advocates rallied in front of the State House today, calling on lawmakers to reject amendments to the state budget that would require inmates of county jails or state prisons to pay a $5 daily fee to subsidize the cost of their confinement.
The advocates argued that the fee would place a heavier burden on already struggling people and their families and could lead to an increase in recidivism, with some indebted inmates feeling like they have to commit new crimes to repay their prison debt.
Rev. William Dickerson of the Greater Love Tabernacle called the amendments "ridiculous."
"The amendments are unreasonable, unrealistic and disrespectful, " he said. "They would only contribute to a vicious cycle of recidivism."
A bill has already passed the House that would impose the fee.
The action in the Legislature comes after the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled in January that Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson had no right to impose a $5 fee on his inmates.
The high court said at the time that only the state Legislature had the power to set such fees.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more