On this day in 1950, United Nations forces under the command of Gen. MacArthur land at Inchon, and within two weeks liberate Seoul from North Korean occupation.
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Izabela Zaluska reports Pay-to-stay, other fees, can put jail inmates hundreds or thousands in debt (‘In some Wisconsin counties, inmates pay an average of $390 a month in pay-to-stay fees; advocates say such fees can criminalize poverty’):
In 2011, Sean Pugh was arrested for allegedly violating terms of his release from prison. A year and a half into his roughly two-year stay in the Brown County Jail, he realized he owed the county around $17,000 — the result of a $20 daily “pay-to-stay” fee plus fees from previous jail stints.
Brown County is one of at least 23 Wisconsin counties that assess “pay-to-stay” fees, which charge inmates for room and board for the time they are incarcerated, according to a Wisconsin Watch survey of county jails.
Under Wisconsin law, pay-to-stay can apply to the entire period of time the person is in jail, including pretrial detention. It is then up to the counties whether they want to charge only sentenced inmates or also charge those who are not sentenced.
The jail systems in Wisconsin’s two largest counties — Dane and Milwaukee — do not levy pay-to-stay fees. But in other Wisconsin counties, jails are taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, the Wisconsin Watch survey found.
Such fees have escalated in recent decades. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a 9-0 decision that financial penalties levied by states may be so high as to violate the federal Eighth Amendment constitutional protection against excessive fines.
Noting that excessive fines for “vagrancy” were used after the Civil War to re-enslave freed men, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurrence: “The right against excessive fines traces its lineage back in English law nearly a millennium, and … has been consistently recognized as a core right worthy of constitutional protection.”
(On this point, Thomas is right.)