PEOPLE currently incarcerated are eligible to receive the $1,400 stimulus checks – but some Republican lawmakers want to redirect those checks to the inmates’ victims.
Inmates were eligible for all three rounds of the stimulus check, with Republicans in Congress pushing back against in the two previous ones as well. But this time around, GOP state lawmakers are also blasting the decision.
Some GOP state senators want to redirect inmates’ stimulus checks to their victimsCredit: Getty
Missouri state Senator Tony Luetkeymeyer wants inmates to pay their victims before getting the stimulus checksCredit: Senate.mo.gov
Missouri state Senator Tony Luetkeymeyer sponsored a bill that would block inmates from receiving the stimulus check if they haven’t yet paid back what they owe their victims.
“Allowing prisoners to benefit from these programs, which were intended to help people reeling from job loss and economic devastation, is wrong,” Luetkeymeyer told Newsweek.
“If these checks are going to be allowed to go to prisoners, then victims should be the first in line to receive compensation from those checks,” he said.
Inmates under the American Rescue Plan are eligible to receive the $1,400 checks, just as they were eligible for the two previous checks as well. None of the relief packages have banned inmates from receiving the payments.
Inmates are eligible for all three stimulus paymentsCredit: Getty
The IRS did attempt to withhold payments last year, claiming incarcerated people weren’t eligible under the Social Security Act and also attempted to have inmates who ended up receiving the payments to return them.
A California judge then overruled the IRS’s claim and forced the agency to issue payments to them in October.
In Missouri where Republicans more than double Democrats in the Senate, the GOP could pass Luetkeymeyer’s bill without Democrat support.
Luetkeymeyer said he’s “optimistic” the “commonsense measure” would pass both legislatures.
The same is the case in Wisconsin, where Republican state Senator Julian Bradley co-sponsored a bill that would require all stimulus checks going to inmates be paid first to victims.
“There is money coming in that wasn’t expected for the criminals, the murderers, the rapists, etc., that are locked up,” Bradley told WTMJ. “So we can use that money to start paying some restitution to the people who desperately need some help.”
Bradley said he promoted the bill so it was “ensuring they get the brand of justice” before the state court.
Democratic State Senator Lena Taylor said she agreed incarcerated people needed to pay restitution, but had a problem with garnishinng 100 percent of the check.
She said that $1,400 stimulus payment could help prepare incarcerated people for release.