Cost of Slavery In KY
From the August 2023 Vera Report
- KY counties can charge, and garnish from personal property or canteen accounts, or can contract with private debt collection agencies to collect unpaid jail debt
- up to $50/day in pay-to-stay fees
- an administrative booking fee
- charges for any medical and dental treatment
- reimbursement for any ‘property damaged or any injury caused while incarcerated’
- the cost of a home incarceration monitoring devise and supervision fees
- people who participate in jail work release programs can be charged up to 25% of their gross daily wages to offset their jail boarding fees.
- Jailers can charge a “bond acceptance fee” of $5/ bail bond.
- KY counties, not counting Fayette and Jefferson, collected at least $53.5 million in revenue from jail boarding fees, $13.7 million in revenue from work release fees, $8.2 million in revenue from home incarceration fees, and more than $8.2 million from jailer’s bond acceptance fees.
- Additional fees and costs include
- Inflated phone and video chat charges (an inmate working a typical prison job has to work 3 days to cover the cost of 15 minutes of phone time)
- Commissary charges for basic hygiene supplies like soap and shampoo.
- People accused of criminal activity can be further impoverished by civil asset forfeiture, which means law enforcement can seize money, property, and other assets that may be connected to criminal activity.
- Fees for probation or parole in KY can range from $10/month up to $2500/year for each felony, and $10/month or up to $500/year for each misdemeanor.
- Probation and parole companies contracting with the state typically operate with no oversight, so it is unknown how many of these companies are operating in the state, what they charge for ‘services’ or how much they make in profits.
- People can be charged for each conviction depending on the class of the offense
- Class A misdemeanor: $500
- Class B misdemeanor or violation: $250
- Felonies: $1000 to $10000 for one or more felonies
- Administrative fee of $30 if they are convicted on sex offense charges, stalking, or attempting or conspiring to commit those crimes
- May have to pay restitution and non payment will result in revocation of driver’s license, contempt of court, and continued supervision.
- Court fees.
- $100 on all criminal cases in Circuit and District Courts
- KY law says 49% of these funds must be distributed into the general fund which is the primary funding source for core operations
- For example
- 5% of each court cost is allocated to hiring deputy clerks and deputy clerk salaries
- 10.1% to the local sheriff
- 10.8% to the KY Local Correctional Facilities Construction Authority.
- In District Court criminal cases, additional fees are
- $20 intended for police, jails, housing or transporting people in custody
- $10 fee on all misdemeanors for the training, salaries, and equipment of the KY Internet Crimes Against Children Task force
- $5 fee for telephonic behavioral health triage system
- Filing fees, according to each county ($44.8 million collected from 2007-2020 for fiscal court filing fees
- This list is not exhaustive
- Jails in Kentucky charge up to $5.70 for a 15-minute phone call, reaping profits for companies, while prisons charge $2.10 for a 15-minute call.
- Kentucky prisons and Access Corrections don’t report data on fees to transfer money to an incarcerated loved one.
- People in Kentucky prisons with less than $5 in their commissary and media accounts combined receive postage and writing supplies but must pay for basic hygiene products
- According to research done by the ACLU (2022-06-15 captive labor research report) prisoners are paid $0.48 to $1.58 per day. Inmates on special assignment might receive up to $2.42 per day.
- Inmates who work in UNICOR jobs, which is the industry that employs prisoners in Federal prisons, average $.92 per hour. They are required to use half of those earnings to pay fines such as court costs and child support.
- In Kentucky, there are 12 state prisons, 2 private prisons, 5 Federal prisons, and one ICE detention center. Kentucky-operated facilities had a staff of 4,400 employees and a budget of $620,458,700.
Harrison, Lowell H. The antislavery movement in Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky, 1978.