CLAYTON — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Tuesday he will ask the County Council to eliminate six types of fees charged to inmates in the county jail, which combined bring in about $380,000 per year to the county.
The council’s presiding officer, Ernie Trakas, said he had not yet reviewed the proposal.
In a statement, Page said the fees were leaving inmates upon release without the means to re-enter the community, making them them more likely to end up homeless or return to crime. Taxpayers then pick up the tab for the reincarceration.
“Eliminating a financial burden on people coming out of custody will help them find a job, housing and a better way of life,” he said in a statement.
Page said the recommendation came from Lt. Col. Troy Doyle, acting director of Justice Services, who called the fees predatory.
Page said the decision to reform fees comes as the council weighed a new jail phone contract with Securus Technologies Inc. Under the terms of the proposed contract, the county would have received a 77% commission on each call and 25% on video calls, for two years. The county estimated it would have taken in $960,000 a year from the new contract, versus $830,000 from its current provider. Page suggested setting aside the balance of $130,000 to hire more medical professionals. But the council rejected the contract by a 4-1 vote later Tuesday.
The fees that would be eliminated, if approved by the County Council, are:
• A $70 booking fee, charged to those who have already been sentenced.
• A $20 bond fee, charged to a person posting bond for an inmate.
• A $2 fee charged each time an inmate is seen by a nurse.
• A $5 fee charged each time an inmate is seen by the dentist.
• A one-time $5 fee for dispensing medication.
• A $20 medical assessment fee charged for each incarceration.