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Old 04-04-2006, 08:05 AM
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chinagrove chinagrove is offline
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Question Indigent inmates

My sister in law called with a question I cannot seem to find the answer to. I am aware that some inmates who do not have funds available are considered indigent and the facility then provides for their minimum personal needs ie:soap,shampoo,deoderant, stationary, stamps, etc. I have also been told the items are less then desirable but tolerable. Anyway, seems she has a niece (by marriage) at a private prison in Basile. Although my sister in law is out of work and trying to secure disability the niece often asks for money for personal items. My sister in law has on occassion tried to send a few dollars at the cost of her own power being turned off and that makes me sad. The requests are coming more frequesntly now and for more and more money. Can anyone help me to understand how the indigent policy works. I have heard that if an inmate classified as indigent receives money then items which were "given to them" previously are now debited from the funds received. Is the inmate then considered "non-indigent"? The niece said if money is not sent she just has to do without! Is there a timeframe in which the inmate is reclassified as indigent? My sister in law cannot send funds on a normal basis and if it is causing her niece to flip flop back and forth from classifications then she wanted to understand and explain to the niece that she is aware of it. Any information would be appreciated.

I would turn to the private prison for answers but since it is a for-profit business I think they would say the inmate absolutly had to have the money which would keep their cost down and profit margin up.
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:16 PM
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ok, hope i can help.

the items that indigent inmates recieve are often commissary items. it's not less than desirable...it may be no frills (no popular name) but it's in packages and it's new. they reicieve stamps, paper, envelopes, deodorant, shoes, toothpaste, combs, heck...they can even get razors to do their eyebrows and hair in certain places. there is nothing wrong with the items an inmate recieves, just that they are not top of the line.

as far as funds go, once an inmate recieves funds, they are not considered indigent anymore, UNLESS the funds are not given on a normal basis. their account record is kept track of...so if they recieve funds once every 7 months, they are still considered indigent, unless the amount is large enough to carry them through. usually it is not. if they recieve an amount regularly, they are not considered indigent, and usually the prison/jail does NOT charge the inmate for items previously recieved as an indigent status, UNLESS it's for a service (such as medical care). the inmate is never denied any care because they are indigent, they simply pay back the money when they get it in their account; if it never comes, the facility simply never gets paid. if it does come, it's debited from their account. as far as personal items, clothing, and shoes are concerned, they are not charged for those items and pay for them once they get money. however, once they get money they will no longer be supplied those items-they must purchase them themselves.

as far as the neice goes...she is probably lying to get more money from her aunt. she is recieving something in there to help her get through the days, even if it is from other inmates. the price of the items stays the same, so if she's asking for more and more money that should raise a flag. 50.00 per month is more than enough for personal items, 100.00 per month is enough for the inmate to be comfortable item and food wise, anything more than 200.00 a month and the inmate is living pretty comfortably depending on the prison/jail item prices, they don't vary THAT much however, so 200.00 a month (alot to some folk) is basically gold status. 50.00 per month is enough to be clean and have a snack here and there.

you can pm me for anything else. each state is different but this is a start at least, and i hope it helps you!
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:16 PM
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Like mrschris said...the basics are covered. Most states have a time period they work with, you would have to call to find out. Contact the law library of any unit in your area and they can tell you the specifics for your state. Here, you can not charge any commissary items. No food, clothes, shoes, etc. The basics will be provided for them. Just none of the 'frills' as mentioned above. But, she should rest assured that the inmate will not go without the basics by being indigent. I would agree with the 'Red flags' thing. If the amount keeps going up, I would tend to think the niece owes other inmates. It happens.
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:28 AM
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Lightbulb Just what I needed

Thank you for your responses. It was just what I needed.
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