Federal government doled out $783.5M in stimulus checks for prisoners

Senate previously rejected measure to block payments from flowing to prisoners.

The federal government doled out $783.5 million for incarcerated individuals as part of the American Rescue Plan, Fox News has learned. 

In response to a public records request from conservative group American Crossroads, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed that the money flowed to 560,000 individuals who were incarcerated for the full tax year 2020.

Passed in March, the American Rescue Plan granted $1,400 in stimulus money to people making less than $75,000 per year.

"Earlier this year, every single Senate Democrat voted to give stimulus checks to violent criminals in prison," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a statement to Fox News. 

"Sending cash to murderers and rapists in prison has nothing to do with solving the pandemic or improving the economy. Now, the same people who sent hundreds of millions of dollars as gifts to these inmates want to spend trillions more in an even bigger and more partisan bill." 

Sens. Cotton and Bill Cassidy, R-La., attempted to exclude prisoners in March but that amendment failed on a party-line vote. 

COVID RELIEF BILL OFFERS CONVICTED MURDERERS STIMULUS CHECKS, COTTON SLAMS

The $1,400 payout was in addition to $1,200 and $600 checks offered as part of the previous coronavirus relief legislation. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., criticized the measure, saying it would harm Black and Brown families.

"Given the stark racial disparities in our criminal justice system, this would cause the most harm to Black and brown families and communities already harmed by mass incarceration," he said from the Senate floor. "Children should not be forced to go hungry because a parent is incarcerated."

Although the Trump administration attempted to block the initial payments from flowing to prisoners, those efforts were eventually halted by a federal judge who noted that the legislation itself didn't exclude prisoners.

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The revelation comes amid news that convicted gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who abused Olympic athletes, received $2,000 from two federal stimulus checks.

Cotton previously warned that the checks would flow to murderers like Dylan Roof and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.