Paying For Prison


Most people would do anything to get out of prison; but in Arizona people are paying to get in.

Since July 20th a new state law requires people to pay a $25 fee to visit incarcerated inmates. The one-time fee covers the cost of a background check. The money raised goes to maintain the state’s ten prisons.

Now a prison reform group is suing the corrections department calling the fee unconstitutional. The group says this fee could prevent family members from visiting the jail which could affect the rehabilitation process of prisoners. The group says Arizona is the only state to have a fee like this.

But not everyone is required to shell out the money. People who passed the background check before the law was enacted are being grandfathered in. Children under eighteen, inmate’s foster parents and those who only want phone privileges are also exempt. Right now processing the application and the fee is a sixty day process and the $25 is non-refundable.

Family members who already shell out for travel expenses and inmate necessities say this fee is too expensive. Looks like prisoners aren’t the only ones paying for the crime.