The State is Suing Inmates for the Costs of Housing Them in Jail

There has been a recent upswing in lawsuits against inmates in the Illinois Corrections system. Little known, and until recently little used, there is a law still in effect in Illinois which allows the State to sue individuals for reimbursement for their incarceration. Essentially, the suits are seeking rental payments for their time in jail.

Fair or not, this is currently the law, although it was not used often and only recently is being used a true source of reimbursement. The cost of incarceration is high, and it appears the State is pursuing all avenues of revenue to pay for it, including suing inmates for it.

Until this law is removed from the statute books, it will continue to exist and the State will have the option to utilize it. This doesn’t mean they are suing every inmate; right now their have only been around 31 suits in the last 5 years. However, it does mean in the age of recessions and increasing crime and incarcerations, it could become more common. It does appear they attempt to go after inmates who can afford to pay back some of the costs, but that is not always the case.

It appears right now the saying "crime doesn’t pay" has never been more true. To have to surrender to incarceration, and then have to pay for, can truly punish a person. It is important to know the costs of crime in advance, and this certainly counts as a cost.

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