Benton County jail billing former inmates

Benton County jail billing former inmates »Play Video
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. - Benton County Jail could be back in the money. The State Auditor gave the jail's books a second look. It found many former inmates still owed the jail cash.

It adds up to tens of thousands of dollars you paid for expenses the prisoners racked up behind bars. From nurses visits to booking fees to food or personal supplies. It's coming as a shock to former inmates.

Shelly Tucker, former inmate said, "Ah no way, there's no, I don't owe Benton County anything."

Shelly has been out of jail for more than 8 years. She was surprised to get a $50 bill from the county. It's not a lot, but Shelly is frustrated with how long it took for her to get the bill.

She said, "I would have definitely had a warrant for my arrest had I not paid my fines and fees."

Shelly also won't learn what exactly the bill is for. Benton County doesn't have itemized records of what is owed, just the inmate's jacket number and dollar amount.

Ignore the bill and it will be sent to collections.

Once the bill goes to collections it will be up to the former inmate to pay the collection agency fees. Benton county jail won't be paying for anything other than the paper it prints the statements on and mailing costs.

Driving down the money and resources needed to get you, the tax payer, back the money you spent.

Shelly has moved past a life of crime.

"I'll pay it, I just want to know what it's for," she said.

She intends to pay her debt to society in full.