Excuse me sir, but the state wants its money back. The state of Illinois says that Kenley Hawkins owes the entire $11,000 he managed to save earning $75 per week since 1982.
The catch: Hawkins is a prisoner at the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, and the state paid him those meager wages while he's been incarcerated. The total cost of his stay in prison is estimated at $455,203.14.
The 60-year-old prisoner is going to court to keep the state from seizing the funds in his bank account to partially satisfy that debt. It will be up to the Illinois Supreme Court to determine whether or not the state can repossess the wages paid to inmates. This will be the first time the court will address this particular issue.
"To save $11,000 is miraculous, but the money we get from this guy means nothing to the state," John Maki, coordinating director of the John Howard Association of Illinois, a prison reform organization, told the Chicago Tribune. "This is not going to help create a prison culture that's more rehabilitative, which makes people less likely to offend again."
It's likely to be an uphill battle if that's Hawkins' best argument. The prospect of having to pay the state back from meager prison earnings is probably not going to be a major deterrent to committing a crime.
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