Tax dollars for prisoner satellite TV

Nearly $1 Million Spent on Satellite Television for Prisoners!
By Common Sense for Oregon

Salem, Ore— Common Sense For Oregon today announced its fourth Golden Fleece Award winner. The award has been given for a second time to the Oregon Department of Corrections for spending nearly $1 million on free satellite television service for prisoners.

“This is unbelievable,” said Ross Day, executive director of Common Sense For Oregon, “First we discovered the state was giving away free soda pop, now we discovered the state is giving prisoners free satellite television.”

Although the satellite television service is paid out of the Inmate Welfare Fund, which is an account that is funded through profits from the sale of items to prisoners and families, revenue from the Inmate Welfare Fund could be spent on other programs which are currently being funded with taxpayer dollars.
“The taxpayers of Oregon are back-filling drug and alcohol treatment programs, education programs, and counseling programs so the Department of Corrections can provide free satellite television service to prisoners,” said Day.

Oregon administrative rules allow money from the Inmate Welfare Fund to be used for the purchase of “equipment for television viewing”, but not for satellite (or cable) television services, which is another reason this expense is highly questionable, said Day. A copy of the relevant administrative rule is attached to this release.

“This money should be used on programs that are currently paid for with tax dollars. The Department of Corrections would save the taxpayers money by simply purchasing a 50 dollar antennae and letting prisoners watch over-the-air television,” Day concluded.

This latest Golden Fleece Award was brought to the attention of Common Sense For Oregon from a tip received from a corrections officer on the anonymous, toll-free tip line created by Common Sense For Oregon. The telephone number is 1-877-UFLEECE. Or, citizens can go to www.commonsensefororegon.org and leave an anonymous message on that website.

Common Sense For Oregon is an Oregon non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting common sense solutions to the issues important to Oregonians.

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