Boston – Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis testified at the Massachusetts State House in front of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in support of Bill No. 00483 which would authorize Sheriffs to impose and assess fees to inmates in their custody.
Evangelidis a former assistant district attorney and assistant state prosecutor, returned to Beacon Hill to testify in favor of the Bill that he once cosponsored as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. “With incarceration costs exceeding $100 per day and in light of dramatic budget cuts of over 13% in the last three years passage of this bill would provide me as Sheriff an optional tool to charge inmates a nominal daily fee, offsetting the deep cuts to many of the current inmate programs.”
Presently, the Worcester County House of Correction is responsible for providing all facets of inmate care from living expenses to free medical, vision, prescription and dental care. By providing Sheriffs authorization to impose a sliding scale of daily fees the Massachusetts Legislature would then be joining several other states some charging up to $60 per day with this program. The current bill allows for all debt to be forgiven if an inmate once released does not get rearrested within 2 years with the goal being a reduced rate of recidivism.
“Last year alone inmates at the Worcester County House of Correction spent just under 1 million dollars out of their own canteen accounts on such personal items as clothing, walkmans and sneakers, as Sheriff assessing prisoners a nominal daily fee would dramatically help to maintain the current level of services provided at the jail for substance abuse, mental health and educational programs especially while dealing with deep cuts in the operating budget.”
Sheriff Evangelidis testified on Beacon Hill along with several other Sheriffs from around the Commonwealth and a number of members from the Massachusetts Legislature.