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Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay for the time

Sidebar by Ray James

Law Enforcement – April 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Frémont County is playing follow the leader to Chaffee County Sheriff Ron Bergmann by instituting a “room charge” for convicted inmates at the county jail. Bergmann explained that since state law allows him to charge those in jail under conviction, he decided to do so to reduce the burden on county citizens.

Inmates in Chaffee County are charged on a sliding scale which varies from $3 a day for those who make minimum wage or with large families and low incomes on the outside, up to $25 a day for the more well-heeled convicts. Other jails across Colorado are charging now as well with rates as high as $40 a day in the region.

Bergmann says everyone must pay, but in special circumstances he would reduce the cost to $1 a day.