Response to Pay for Stay Issues

PRESS RELEASE:  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 10, 2014

 

In response to Judge Allphin’s order to stop taking funds from inmate’s accounts, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office will abide by the Judge’s order.

The complexity of Pay for Stay has divided all parties involved; including the state legislators, Judges, attorneys, and jails throughout the State of Utah.  Pay for Stay was enacted into law in 2007 by the Utah State Legislature.  At that time, the Davis County Jail began collecting Pay for Stay.  None of the policies and procedures within DCSO surrounding Pay for Stay has changed since 2007.  It wasn’t until 2013 that questions surrounding the collection of Pay for Stay came into question. 

During a meeting on March 10, 2014 with the Davis County Attorney’s Office, DCSO was able to receive direction regarding the issue under dispute; collection between conviction and sentencing of Pay for Stay.  After the meeting on March 10th, all parties were in agreement; Pay for Stay would be allowable post-sentencing, but not before.  DCSO has been in compliance with that decision since March 10th, 2014.  Judge Allphin’s order has further complicated the issue.   

Pay for Stay benefits the public.  When Pay for Stay was enacted into law, the taxpayer’s burden of housing offenders was reduced dramatically, when it redirected some of the costs back to the offender.  DCSO recognizes the rights of inmates who are housed in the Davis County Jail.  All basic needs are met while in jail.  Commissary monies are for luxury items, such as snack foods and candy and personal care items over and above what is provided for basic needs.  Currently, the law allows jails to charge up to $46.85 per day of incarceration to the inmates, but in recognition of the difficulties to the offenders, Davis County elected to charge $10.00 per day.  That $10 per day rate was agreed upon in 2007 by the Second District Court Judges in Farmington and DCSO.    

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office offers numerous programs that allows inmates to have their Pay for Stay fees waived, including; clearing debris from the freeways and roadways throughout Davis County, clearing undergrowth in fire hazard zones, growing vegetables at the Botanical Gardens that are harvested and donated to the Homeless Shelter, remodeling the jail housing units, mowing the lawns and maintaining the landscaping around DCSO, cleaning of the DCSO facilities, and many other inmate worker programs. 

In 2013, DCSO collected $369,000 through Pay for Stay.   However, through inmate worker programs during that same year, DCSO waived approximately $857,750 of inmate’s Pay for Stay fees for the labor provided by the inmate workers.   Although Judge Allphin’s order is for his court alone, DCSO has applied the order across all the courts of Davis County.

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office will comply with Judge Allphin’s order, but is deeply concerned with the suggestion to the public that it has violated the law.  The policies in place by the Davis County Sheriff’s Office are identical to policies used by many other jails in the State of Utah.  The Davis County Sheriff’s Office’s mission statement is and has always been:

To Serve the citizens of Davis County by:

Ensuring equal protection under the law,

Providing emergency medical services and

Fulfilling our statutory and traditional obligations.

We are committed to being frugal and efficient with public funds

And utilizing all available resources to their fullest potential.

 

We stand by that statement.

 

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