Arizona to charge $25 for you to see family members inside – who’s the crook here?

It seems that the Arizona Department of Corrections is a little hard up for money these and figured that since you want to see that precious family member that they have locked up in out of the way prisons you won’t mind paying for the privilege.

Sure it’s only a one-time charge of $25 for each person who will be visiting their family member but those background checks are cheap you know.

Except the only problem is that the money isn’t being used to do the actual background check but rather going to offset the $150 million the state need for the maintenance and building renewal of their prison system. Needless to say the family members that are being forced to pay this one-time background check fee are not very happy and the lawsuits are starting to fly.

“What will happen is that people will just stop visiting,” said the woman, adding that most prisoners “live for” visits from relatives. Because some friends of the family still do not know of her brother’s incarceration, she asked to be identified only by her first name, Shauna. She was one of several dozen family members of inmates who complained toMiddle Ground Prison Reform, a group based in Tempe, about the fee.

In a lawsuit filed last month against the Corrections Department, Middle Ground said the fee was simply a pretext for raising money “for general public purposes” and as such was unconstitutional because it amounted to a special tax on a single group.

Middle Ground has also filed suit over another provision of the law, which imposes a 1 percent charge on deposits made to a prisoner’s spending account.

Donna Leone Hamm, executive director of Middle Ground, said she thought that state legislators created the background check fee “out of sheer financial desperation” at a time when the state faces huge budget shortfalls.

“This was a scheme — in my mind, a harebrained scheme — to try to come up with the money,” she said.

via New York Times

I am sure that there are folks that will see nothing wrong with this idea and they probably hate puppies too.