County sued for charging inmates - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

County sued for charging inmates

November 4, 2004

Homerville - Willie Williams Junior spent about nine months in the Clinch County jail last year, but he'll be paying for it for much longer. "I owe almost $5,000.00" said Williams.

Williams was charged $18.00 a day for room, board, and food services. "If I don't start paying it, I know they're gonna come pick me up," said Williams.

Mickle Jackson also owes the county money for his stay at the jail. "I have to pay $100 a month," said Jackson.

He too says there's no way he'll ever be able to repay the county. "My Mom has to pay bills and everything and its real hard for her," said Jackson.

Now the men are suing Clinch county, saying they were illegally billed and their civil rights were violated. Ronda Cross-Scott is friends with both men and helped file the lawsuit. She says the county jail's policy is not only illegal, its unconstitutional. "I don't think there is any Georgia law authorizing jails to bill inmates for room, board, or food services," said Cross-Scott.

She's hopes that taking the issue to court will finally put an end to the billing, and the judge will grant a class action law suit. "So the money that has been collected over the past 20 years will be reimbursed to the rightful owners," said Cross-Scott.

Williams, Jackson, and county representatives are scheduled to appear in federal court in Macon Friday morning.

posted at 4:00 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com