Ga. debates pay to stay prison bill


House lawmakers are set to consider a contentious proposal that would allow state officials to collect money from people in prison and their families to cover the costs of their incarceration.

"The Jail and Prison Reimbursement Act" would require prisoners in Georgia facilities to pay a reimbursement fee to the state for medical care and establish an average per diem cost of up to $40 a day. It also allows collections officials to seize assets and property of prisoners and their families in court.

Supporters say the measure, which faces its first committee hearing Wednesday, will help the state recoup costs in a tough economy. Critics worry it could saddle innocent family members with daunting costs.

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