Inmate debt and fees policies/reports (State-level) (Department of Corrections)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Montana.
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Montana Public Records Act, Article II, § 9, I hereby request the following records:

The following materials regarding the assessment, collection, and balances of inmate fees and debt:

• All policies and procedures regarding the goods, services, or any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable. Please include all policies on the garnishment/disbursement of funds from inmate accounts and wages (such as those related to mandatory saving, mandatory deductions, coverage of care, personal necessities, etc.), as well as all relevant reporting requirements. Please include all relevant data as regards to medical payments, room and board costs, meal fees, stamps and postage, hygienic materials, and any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable, etc.

• All reports, databases, spreadsheets, or equivalent materials regarding current debts/restitution paid to or owed to this department or any facility/agency under its jurisdiction. Please include all available segregable information (excluding individual personally-identifying elements, as necessary and appropriate), including but not limited to the reason for the debt/fee, the amount of the debt, the facility at which the debt was incurred, whether the debt is held by an inmate in custody or released, any available individual data regarding record of prior release, etc.

If further clarification is necessary, a phone call will happily be arranged.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I would request your response within ten (10) business days.

Sincerely,

From: Beck, Judy

Requested: The following materials regarding the assessment, collection, and balances of inmate fees and debt:

• All policies and procedures regarding the goods, services, or any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable. Please include all policies on the garnishment/disbursement of funds from inmate accounts and wages (such as those related to mandatory saving, mandatory deductions, coverage of care, personal necessities, etc.), as well as all relevant reporting requirements. Please include all relevant data as regards to:

Medical payments: inmates pay nothing, not even a co-pay

Room and board costs; meal fees: inmates pay nothing (unless they are working for Montana Correctional Enterprises under the federal Prison Industry Enhancement Program – three inmates over the past two years have been in the PIE program). See * below.

Stamps and postage: inmates pay their own mailing costs
Hygienic materials: inmates pay for their own unless they are indigent. See Policy 1.2.10 Commissary/Canteen: http://cor.mt.gov/Portals/104/Resources/Policy/Chapter1/1-2-10.pdf

Phone calls: inmates pay their own phone calls. Part of the fee goes to the inmate welfare fund, which pays for cable TV, gym equipment, etc. Refer to inmate welfare fund policy online to see the services the fund pays for: https://cor.mt.gov/Portals/104/Resources/Policy/MSPprocedures/1-2-12InmateWelfare.pdf

There is court-ordered restitution, which may include victim restitution, but this is not owed to the department and inmates don’t pay until they leave prison, unless they work for MCE in a paid capacity while in prison.*

* For inmates who earn a wage working for Montana Correctional Enterprises, see DOC Policy 5.2.4 online at https://cor.mt.gov/Portals/104/Resources/Policy/Chapter5/5-2-4.pdf for what may be deducted from an inmate worker’s wages.

• All reports, databases, spreadsheets, or equivalent materials regarding current debts/restitution paid to or owed to this department or any facility/agency under its jurisdiction. Please include all available segregable information (excluding individual personally-identifying elements, as necessary and appropriate), including but not limited to the reason for the debt/fee, the amount of the debt, the facility at which the debt was incurred, whether the debt is held by an inmate in custody or released, any available individual data regarding record of prior release, etc.

Montana Department of Corrections prison inmates are not in debt to the department. If you want the amount they owe their victims, let me know and I will see if we can run a report that shows outstanding amounts owed to crime victims.
Judy Beck
Director of Communications
Montana Department of Corrections

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Ms. Beck,

Thanks so much for all of this. I'm wondering if there are any reports regarding the amount spent on stamps, hygienic materials, and phone commissions (I can put in a separate request for the last part, if that makes more sense). I would be interested in the outstanding debt for victim restitution; do let me know if that will be a lot of work.

Thanks again for your help on this and all of my requests! I really do appreciate it.

Best,
Beryl

From: Beryl Lipton

Hi Ms. Beck,

I'm wondering if there's any more clarification I can provide.

Hope you're well,
Beryl

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