The county commissioners passed the measure last week after a spirited discussion during a public hearing. Citizen concerns surrounded the way the law defined “level of poverty” for the sake of the ordinance. The inmate’s ability to pay is based on the family’s income, and not that of the individual.
County attorney Marty Lucas says the ordinance tracks the state law under which counties are allowed to charge a post-conviction fee to inmates. The law caps the fee at a maximum of $30 per day. The county council will set the rate. It will only apply to inmates who have been convicted and sentenced to more than 72 hours in the Starke County Jail for a felony or a misdemeanor offense.
The I.C. under which the fee is allowed can be found here: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2015/ic/titles/036/articles/002/chapters/013/#section-15