HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama inmates were potentially paid millions in the newest round of stimulus payments. Prosecutors say inmates who are court-ordered to pay their victims should not receive stimulus money.
The Alabama Department of Corrections has provided how much stimulus money has gone to inmates.
As of April 1, 2021, 1,918 inmates have received Economic Impact Payments from the Federal Government totaling $2,305,479.88. Of those 1,918 inmates:
- 6 inmates received $1800.00;
- 2 inmates received $1700.00;
- 1 inmate received $1300.00;
- 1032 inmates received $1200.00;
- 1749 inmates received $600.00;
- 1 inmate received $440.00;
- 1 inmate received $405.12;
- 1 inmate received $401.00;
- 1 inmate received $232.78; and
- 1 inmate received $101.00.
The message across the board seems to be that people hope lawmakers can pass legislation to redirect some of that stimulus money back to victims.
“That money should automatically be seized and given to victims of crime. That money was given to individuals to stimulate the economy. They can’t stimulate the economy when they are in prison,” says Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich.
She says it is unbelievable that inmates are receiving stimulus checks and will be fighting in court to redirect the stimulus money.
Alabama General Attorney Steve Marshall says he’s working with district attorneys and coordinating an effort to get money back to victims across the state.
“We are beginning that process. We’ve worked with the department of corrections to freeze money,” says Marshall.
Donna Howell, a mother of a murder victim, says giving stimulus money to inmates is like rewarding the crimes.
“But when a victim gets treated this way, and then they see this person get to plead to manslaughter, and then this person is getting stimulus on top of that...It almost like we are saying we are paying them to take youth away from you,” says Howell.
Howell is an activist for at-risk kids in the communities. She says that inmates are taken care of in prison and the victim’s and victims’ families are left with nothing.
“A criminal causes cost to its victims. It is either emotional and financial, or it is physical, financial, and emotional.”
She says not everyone knows about Alabama’s victims’ compensation and not everyone qualifies. So it is only fair for victims to receive restitution.
“Treat a victim like victims and treat criminals like criminals,” says Howell.
Marshall says he would like lawmakers to pass legislation so that if stimulus money is given out in the future, restitution would automatically be taken out of the stimulus payments.