Just to recap:
Cash for Clunkers.
Cash for Kitchen Appliances.
Cash for Coiffures.
And now…Cash for Convicts. Really.
The feckless feds are begging prisoners to give the money back. Really:
Federal economic stimulus cash was handed out to cons behind bars in Bay State prisons after a bureaucratic snafu resulted in $250 checks being sent to some inmates – and now red-faced feds want it back.
“Taxpayers already believe the inmates are running the asylum in Washington,” U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said in a statement. “Now it appears they are being compensated for their efforts.”
Not only did the feds send the cash to incarcerated cons, but they failed to respond to state officials who sounded the alarm about the inmate windfall – now the subject of a national probe.
The state Department of Correction initially withheld stimulus checks mailed to 23 inmates because prison officials believed the convicts were not entitled to the cash, said DOC spokeswoman Diane Wiffin.
The DOC said it released the funds after the federal government ignored several requests for guidance.
“In the absence of a formal directive, DOC determined that it did not have grounds to continue to withhold the checks from the recipients,” Wiffin said in an e-mail.
The Herald learned yesterday the U.S. Social Security Administration is asking at least 14 of the Bay State prisoners to return the cash. Inmates are generally not allowed to receive Social Security benefits while incarcerated.
It’s not clear if the cons have already spent the money in the commissary or elsewhere, however.