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Idaho Sheriffs Want to Tap Inmate Piggy Banks

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee has agreed to hold a hearing on a bill to give law enforcement permission to tap inmate commissary accounts to pay off other jail debt. The committee voted Friday to introduce the bill backed by the Idaho Sheriff’s Association. ISA lobbyist Michael Kane says sheriff’s frequently get court orders allowing them to drain an inmate’s commissary account — the fund used to buy candy and sundries.

Kane says the practice helps offset the unpaid incarceration costs inmates leave behind after their release from jail. Kane says the bill codifies a practice sheriff’s have been doing for years. But Republican Sen. Bart Davis of Idaho Falls voiced concerns, saying such sweeps could anger parents, relatives and others who contribute to the accounts for specific reasons.

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