York County Prison officials plan to charge a $25 processing fee for county inmates

Updated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday: York County Prison board members voted in favor of establishing a $25 processing for county inmates, which they would have to pay before being allowed to buy blankets, sweatshirts, snacks or other items in the commissary.

York County President Commissioner Steve Chronister dissented on a motion to establish such a fee at the prison board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday. Commissioners Doug Hoke and Chris Reilly, District Attorney Tom Kearney and Sheriff Richard Keuerleber voted in favor of it.

Warden Mary Sabol said a policy will have to be drafted, and she anticipated that the policy would be implemented in the early months of 2014.

Kearney and Hoke said that the fee would pay court-ordered restitution, costs and fines for inmates who owe that money. If no such fees apply, the money would go to the county general fund, they said.

The $25 processing fee would be a one-time expense for an inmate.

Don O’Shell, clerk of courts for the county, had been advocating another approach: deducting a percentage of money from inmate accounts for court-ordered restitution and other costs throughout their stay. Prison board members opted not to go down that path, but they presented the $25 processing fee as an alternative.

O’Shell said he was happy with the option they chose.


More on the issue, and more from Tuesday’s meeting, after the jump:

Reported earlier: We’ll have live coverage of the York County Prison board meeting, beginning at 9 a.m.

The meeting takes place in the basement of the York County Administrative Center, so data service can sometimes be a little spotty.

Prison board officials are expected to discuss the prison’s policy for deducting money from inmate accounts for court-ordered restitution and other costs.

Don O’Shell, clerk of courts for the county, has argued in favor of the change, saying taxpayers and victims shouldn’t have to wait, and that it’s “kind of foolish” to not deduct to the money.

Inmates who aren’t allowed to carry cash in the main facility use the accounts to buy snacks, sweatpants and other commissary items. Some other counties, including Lancaster, deduct money from such accounts.

York County Commissioner Doug Hoke, president of the prison board, said he and York County District Attorney Tom Kearney recently met with some Lancaster County officials about their policy.

“It was pretty informative,” Hoke said.

He said a vote is possible at the meeting.

About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
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