Benton County Jail "Pay Or Stay" Policy Sparks Discussion - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton County Jail "Pay Or Stay" Policy Sparks Discussion

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Currently the Benton County justice system makes sure their inmates pay the price one way or another. Currently the Benton County justice system makes sure their inmates pay the price one way or another.
BENTON COUNTY, WA - Currently the Benton County justice system makes sure their inmates pay the price one way or another.

Today the Columbia Basin Badger Club played host to a discussion on the "pay or stay" program at the Benton County Jail. When inmates can't afford to pay their fines judges will enforce more jail time to make up for it.

While some district judges have previously stated they support the heavy fines and jail time for those that can't pay, critics point to the fact that Benton County is the only county in the state with this program.

"I think the topic of discussion is getting a lot of attention because it's expensive, it's been going on a long time and it's probably not legal. It's probably illegal...unconstitutional," said jail Chaplain Dee Willis.

Willis went on to point out that this current system keeps the poorer inmates in jail while the wealthier ones get out earlier, which he believes could be discriminatory. 
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