Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kensley Hawkins: Asked to Pay for Incarceration with Jailhouse Wages

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Kensley Hawkins was sent to prison in 1980 for the murder of one man and the attempted murder of two police officers in Chicago. He had an 8-year old daughter and was going to be in prison for a very long time.
During his time in prison, Kensley earned $75-per-month building furniture in Joliet, Illinois. Somehow, he was able to save $11,000 during his stay in the penitentiary, a small tribute to his daughter, who is now nearly 40-years old. But the state of Illinois is not satisfied, and has asked that Kensley be required to pay for the costs of his incarceration.

The state is arguing that Mr. Hawkins owes them $455,203.14 for the cost of keeping him in prison. The case has now reached the Illinois Supreme Court.

"The reason you want Mr. Hawkins to keep his money is because he's gonna get out of prison some day, and when he gets out of prison, we want him to have saved his money so that he can take care of himself you don't want the public to have to pay for him," Hawkins' attorney, Ben Weinberg, told Fox Chicago.


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