Benton Co. Commissioners Discuss Serving Jail Time for Fees - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton Co. Commissioners Discuss Serving Jail Time for Court Fees

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For years Benton County has enforced a state law that allows prisoners to serve out their court fees and costs with jail time. For years Benton County has enforced a state law that allows prisoners to serve out their court fees and costs with jail time.

KENNEWICK, WA - For years Benton County has enforced a state law that allows prisoners to serve out their court fees and costs with jail time.

It's one of the only court systems that exercises the law. Most counties point their prisoners to collection agencies. At a special meeting Monday, county commissioners heard arguments from both sides on whether to keep or change the way the law is enforced.

The commissioners could change the rate that each day served counts toward paying back those fines to the county.

"Today's special meeting is specifically this. It's going to be around the realm of actions regarding orders of incarceration and or work crew for failure to pay criminal fines," said Benton County Commissioner Shon Small.

Sheriff Steve Keane brought up the fact that work crews could be a great alternative to keeping prisoners. Prisoners cost the county more money to house, while work crews are a productive way to serve out fines.

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