View Full Version : Blunt taking money for incarceration costs??

11-19-2005, 12:24 PM
Someone told me they heard on the news that Blunt was going to keep money sent to inmates from outside sources (family, pen pals, etc.) to pay for their incarceration costs. Any truth to this?

11-19-2005, 04:56 PM
I have searched to see if there are any news stories out there that would support this and I cannot find anything recent that would suggest that this has hit the media.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that they/he could not do that. Not without legislation that does not exist now.

The prison system can take money out of a Prisoner's account for retribution payments, and for child support, but in my knowledge they could not just take money just becasue they now want to.

I would welcome anyone's comments on this in case I am wrong - but I dont think that there is anything to worry about here...

11-19-2005, 06:16 PM
Yes, the state can take money from inmates to pay for their incarceration. If they find out that an inmate has bank accounts, or savings bonds, etc., they can also take those. There have been many cases in Missouri where inmates have won lawsuits, both before and during their incarceration, and the state has taken it. There is a thread started here about the women in Vandalia and the state taking their money.

11-20-2005, 12:28 AM
It was my understnding that this news was released last week. I know they can take money for child support but I was under the impression there was more to than that. I hope that the rumors I heard were wrong.

11-20-2005, 05:54 AM
Ok - I know that there are circumstances where the courts will take money if a prisoner has bank accounts and whatnot... what I am responding to is more the original question where the leeperjeeper asked if they can take the money that is sent to them via friends, penpals, family members etc... this the money that we send to a prisoners account...

Again - if there is a retribution payment, child support, etc, the courts/prison can take that money that is sent in, but can they take the money that is sent by an outside source for incarceration costs?

I would argue that it could not happen on a case by case basis or it would be a discriminitory situation - if they take from one prisoner then they would have to take from all. ...and what about the prisoner that has no money and has no family sending money? How can the courts/prison justify taking money from one just because and not from all?

I don't doubt that there are individual cases, but what about a blanket statement that the system can take money WE send to the prisoner account for incarceration costs?

11-20-2005, 04:27 PM
As long as an inmate has money in his inmate account the State can take it. It doesn't matter who put the money in the account; it only matters that it is in their account and that they are taking it for a legal reason. If they owe child support and their girlfriend put the money in the account, the State can take it. If they owe court costs or victim's funds, and the money was put in by a sister, a mother, whoever, the State can take it. They don't usually take money from an account unless there is a lot of it. I can't remember the amount, but in Missouri inmates have a limit and anything over on their books can be taken.

11-20-2005, 04:39 PM
Yes - I realize that if there are child care costs, retribution, or court costs that the Prisoner is to pay as part of thier sentence (court ordered) that the state can take the money no matter who put it there...

I am questioning the posters comment that the state can just take the money to cover costs of incarceration? Not something that was court ordered?

Is there legislation that allows the state to take money with no

11-21-2005, 09:03 AM
Thanks for all the input. Incarceration costs was the rumor. It sounds like the rumor I heard has no basis for it. I have found out that the state asks the inmate upon release to sign a form that says the state can come back later and charge the released inmate with the costs. It is my understanding they try to make in inmate think he must sign it or they will not be released. But that subject is off the topic that I posted first. Thanks.

11-21-2005, 10:22 AM
There is a law that the state can take any money from an inmate to cover the cost of incarceration. It was signed into law this past August. This whole thing is coming from the Vandalia inmates that had pen pals deposit over $300K into thier accounts. It was a huge scam and Jay Nixon is taking the money. If the state wanted to come and take my husband's measly $100 a month to cover the cost of his incarceration, they could. This was just such a huge amount that they are taking it. Mostly because it was a scam on people from the inmates. But, yes, it is a law.

11-21-2005, 03:34 PM
Nixon targets cash flow to inmates
By Matt Franck


For 33 of Missouri's female inmates, it's been a match made in prison - and a lucrative one at that.

But Attorney General Jay Nixon is playing the role of meddlesome chaperone, cracking down on romantic Internet pen pal services to the tune of nearly $300,000.

That's how much Nixon says the inmates may have collected from adoring "pen pals," thanks to sultry singles ads they placed on Internet sites that connect the lonely with the incarcerated.

Web sites such as, and offer inmates the chance to publicize photos and personal information about themselves in hopes of attracting letters. Once the connection is made, the prisoners often begin asking for money to continue the pen pal arrangement.

Nixon filed legal action Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court to recoup that bounty from 33 prisoners, citing a Missouri law that allows the state to cover prison costs by seizing inmates' assets.

The prisoners named in the litigation collectively deposited $291,860, or an average of nearly $9,000 each, into their inmate accounts. In one instance, an inmate had made deposits of more than $14,000 in a year; another took donations from 18 different pen pals, according to the attorney general's office.

Jim Gardner, a spokesman for Nixon, said the attorney general's staff believed that most of that money came from pen pal solicitations, though he said that wouldn't be known for certain until courts could review each case.

The cost of housing the 33 inmates has thus far exceeded $2.6 million, according to the attorney general's office.

"If you're going to be using a Missouri prison cell as a base of operation for your business, you owe it to taxpayers to pay for room and board," Gardner said.

But the founder of a pen pal Web site used by many of the Missouri inmates says he sees nothing wrong with the donations, provided no fraud was involved in seeking the money.

Adam Lovell, who started the site, charges the 5,000 inmates nationwide using his site $40 each per year to post an ad. At least 13 of the 33 inmates targeted by Nixon have a posting on Lovell's site.

In all, nearly 100 Missouri prisoners, including several murderers, use the service. Unlike some of his competitors, Lovell lists the inmates' crimes with their ads.

Missouri - like most, if not all states - bans inmates from using the Internet. But the Web sites have worked around those restrictions.

Prisoners register for an ad by mail, or have friends and relatives sign them up. Those interested in contacting an inmate send an e-mail to the Web site, which forwards a letter to the prisoner.

From that point, Lovell said, the mail correspondence is directly between the pen pal and the inmate.

Nixon's legal action targets the inmates exclusively. None of the litigation is directed at the Web page operators.

Lovell said he'd never heard of a state seeking to recover donations sent to inmates.

Gardner said he wasn't aware either of any other state's taking up the matter.

More than a dozen prison pen pal sites are operating on the Internet. The Web sites mimic singles Internet sites, with many inmates posting provocative photos of themselves. According to the attorney general's office, some sites feature sexually explicit photos.

The 1988 Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act allows the state to capture assets from prisoners in order to cover up to 90 percent of prison costs. In the past, Nixon has gone after more conventional sources of money, such as lottery winnings or inheritances, Gardner said.

Lovell said he believed most prisoners used his site for friendship and romance, not money.

He said that was especially true of male inmates, who were conspicuously absent as subjects of the litigation filed Thursday. Lovell said the men had a hard enough time finding pen pals, much less ones with deep pockets.

"They're just happy to get mail, period," he said.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The following is a link to this article.

11-21-2005, 04:50 PM
Thank you. That was EXACTLY the information I was looking for. I am glad to know it just involves inmates that are into using good, generous people on the outside. It was a very good article and I believe they had a news story on St. Louis TV about that subject. I am thankful they didn't mention my pen pal site as one that has those kind people on it. There are good honest people incarcerated who just want to communicate with someone.

11-22-2005, 03:56 AM
You know what? I agree with this article and with them taking the money in this kind of case... If you are scamming then you don't deserve the money.

Thanks Christy for bringing this to light...

I would like to know more about The 1988 Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act... when are you free of it after release?

11-22-2005, 11:20 AM
I agree with this article. It is hard enough trying to make it on your own and to have to worry about getting scammed. Boy that article says"averages of $9,000 each. I guess I better be aware.