RENO, Nevada – The American Civil Liberties Union says Elko County's plans to start charging county jail inmates for food and medical care are an unconstitutional form of cruel and unusual punishment and could lead to a court battle.
The Elko County Commission approved Sheriff Jim Pitts' proposal Wednesday to charge inmates $6 a day for meals, $10 for each doctor visit and $5 for initial booking into the jail. He says it will save county taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
But Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU Nevada, said that depending on how indigents are treated, the county could be in for a legal fight. He and others believe it would be the first time in the nation a county would dictate to prisoners that there is no free lunch.