Clovis, N.M. – The Curry County Commission and Curry County Detention Center is facing a class action lawsuit following a controversial ‘inmate booking fee’.
Eric Dixon represents Perry Furgason. They are suing the curry county detention center. His client says when he was booked, they took money directly from his wallet to pay a booking fee without his permission.
“It’s really shocking actually,” Dixon said, “I had a client that went in, and they said you’ve got to pay a booking fee and he said he didn’t want to pay the booking fee.”
The county charges $20 per inmate as a booking fee to be processed into the jail. Dixon is looking for other people who were booked into the jail and had to pay the fee. He says this is not a common practice in New Mexico.
“In my experience its quite extraordinary you don’t see something like this come around very much.”
The Curry County Commission passed an ordinance in 2014 allowing the detention center to charge the processing fee, but Dixon says they shouldn’t have been allowed to reach into Fergason’s wallet and take the cash out.
“I mean if somebody did that you out on the street it would be a crime.”
According to the detention center administrator, its common practice for the inmate’s cash on their person to be put in their system in an account which they have access to while incarcerated. The money is returned upon release, but 20 dollars is taken to pay that booking charge.
Eric Dixon is asking a judge for an injunction banning the curry county detention center from asking for the fee. Dixon is also asking that the inmates get their money back.