Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hope you enjoyed your stay

When compiling a list of some of the worst things that a person might have to go through, surely sitting in prison for a crime you didn't commit has to rank pretty highly. Of course, given the world that we all live in, and the blog that you're currently reading, you just know that there has to be something that would make it worse.

How about getting charged room and board for your time behind bars? That's what happened to a man falsely accused of rape, who ended up spending three years in prison before his innocence was proven.

Admittedly, the man isn't actually paying the cost. He was awarded a settlement in the case to make-up for the time he lost while in prison, and the fees for food and lodging were simply removed before the final total was handed over. The man's lawyer admitted that the concept of having to pay for his stay in prison is a strange one, but was quick to point out that there's very little that can be done to change the laws at this point. The practice has been challenged in the past, but has been upheld.

We almost expect that anyone wrongfully imprisoned in the UK to also find that the cost of their water and prison dry-cleaning will be charged to them. Meanwhile, the properly imprisoned continue to get live inside the jail without paying one thin cent. Of course, they don't get large sums of money upon leaving prison, either (at least, usually not without doing something that might get them back behind bars).

Oh well. In the UK, they get to charge you for the wonderful accommodations of their 4-star prison system. In Portugal, they just forget the laws that they helped write.

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