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El Paso County Settles with ACLU after Keeping People Jailed over $55 Fee

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“You’re not collecting the $55.00 fee and just this fee is costing the county hundreds or even thousands of dollars every day.” ~John Krieger, Director of Communications and Advocacy, ACLU of Colorado.

 

 

A suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado late last year against El Paso County got resolved last week when county commissioners settled on a figure of $190,000 to compensate 185 people, including ACLU client Jasmine Still, who spent collectively over 1,000 days in jail because they couldn’t pay a $55.00 administrative fee.

Called a pre-trial services fee, it’s imposed on people who’ve been arrested and ordered by the court to be released on personal recognizance without having to post bail because they’re not considered a flight risk or a threat to society.  John Krieger, Communications and Advocacy Director with the ACLU of Colorado, told KGNU’s Robin Ryan that officials in the Sheriff’s office claim local judicial authorities don’t possess the power to waive the fee and detain individuals until such time as the $55.00 is paid.

“Even though the court had ordered their release without the payment of money, this $55 kept them in jail for days, weeks, in Jasmine’s case, 27 days. But in the case of the 200 individuals we tracked over 1000 days in the jail because of this $55 fee.”

One individual spent over 100 days in jail as a result of this policy which Krieger says costs El Paso County over $250,000 to collect $16,000.  “You’re not collecting the $55.00 fee and just this fee is costing the county hundreds or even thousands of dollars every day.” ~John Krieger, Director of Communications and Advocacy, ACLU of Colorado.