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Inmates owe millions as Miami-Dade jails charge for room and board

Bob Jagendorf

Miami-Dade County jails charge inmates $2 a day for room and board, a fee that’s rarely paid and creates a shadow economy behind bars that administrators want to eliminate.

Unpaid inmate accounts total $72 million over seven years, a measure of how rare it is for the county Corrections Department to actually collect a daily “subsistence” fee from the largely low-income jail population of more than 5,000 people.

“Most of these folks can’t afford it. Some probably can,” said Corrections Director Cassandra Jones told county commissioners Tuesday. “We want it to be an even playing field for all ... We don’t want them engaged in negative behavior, figuring out how to circumvent the system.”

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.

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