St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has asked the St. Louis County Council to eliminate six types of fees charged to people in the St. Louis County Justice Center’s custody dealing with getting booked, posting bond and receiving medical care.
The fees that will be eliminated, if approved by the County Council, are: a $70 booking fee, charged to those who have already been sentenced; a $20 bond fee, charged to a person posting bond for an inmate; a $2 fee charged each time an inmate is seen by a nurse; a $5 fee charged each time an inmate is seen by the dentist; a one-time $5 fee for dispensing medication; and a$20 medical assessment fee charged for each incarceration.
Eliminating the fees was suggested by Lt. Col. Troy Doyle of the St. Louis County Police Department, who is acting director of County Justice Services, who called the fees predatory.
“Eliminating a financial burden on people coming out of custody will help them find a job, housing and a better way of life,” Page said in a statement.
The decision to reform fees comes as the county weighs a new jail phone contract. The proposed law that abolishes the fees also would designate any revenue made from the new phone contract to go toward improving healthcare for inmates.
Page said his administration is looking at contracts executed or proposed under the Stenger administration, including the phone contract. Stenger and members of his senior staff pleaded guilty to fraud in the awarding of contracts and are waiting to be sentenced by a federal judge.