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D.A. Pat Jones seeks seizure of inmate stimulus checks

Like other Americans, those behind bars received multiple Economic Impact Payments in response to COVID, some of them $3,200.
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 11:33 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Houston County Circuit Judge Todd Derrick on Monday ordered the seizure of stimulus funds received by two state inmates. District Attorney Pat Jones had asked those funds deposited into their prisoner accounts be garnished.

“This is a great opportunity for victims to be made whole,” Jones told News 4.

Those confiscated monies will pay victims first, with court costs and fines following.

In Houston County alone, about 100 motions seeking inmate account garnishments have been filed while thousands of others either have or will be filed elsewhere in Alabama.

Like other Americans, those behind bars received multiple Economic Impact Payments in response to COVID, some of them $3,200.

In response to a News 4 inquiry, the Alabama Department of Corrections said it would take several days to determine the total deposited into prisoner accounts.

Certainly, it is in the millions.

While Jones and other prosecutors are pushing for the garnishments, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes them.

“It is shameful and unacceptable to use garnishment of funds deposited for the benefit of incarcerated people to artificially inflate the state’s coffers. The stimulus money was not extended to the public to provide a free cash infusion to DAs and other state agencies who already profit from the poorest of the poor,” ACLU Legal Director Tish Gotell Faulks said in a statement to News 4.

Jones, though, is thankful for the windfall that victims and courts will receive knowing, otherwise, some of those inmates would never pay a dime.

Jones filed for seizure after receiving guidance from state officials.

Inmate funds deposited by friends and family are not affected.

Ken Curtis is a court and investigative reporter who began his broadcasting career 52 years ago. Contact him at ken@wtvy.com

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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