On Monday (1/10/2021), the Eighth Circuit said that the government cant’ collect inmates’ prison wages to satisfy victim restitution orders, agreeing with two other appeals court opinions and vacating a lower court order to seize $5,500 from an Arkansas prisons trust account. This is great news for federal prisoners and bad news for those BOP Counselors and Case workers who love to strip inmates of all the funds they can.

United States v. Kidd, No. 20-2616 (8th Cir. 2022)

Justia Opinion Summary

18 U.S.C. 3664(n), which governs the application of inmate account funds to restitution, does not apply to accumulated prison wages. The Eighth Circuit vacated the district court’s order granting the government’s Motion for Order to Authorize Payment from Inmate Trust Account and directing the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to turn over $5,500 from the defendant’s inmate trust account for payment toward his outstanding restitution obligation. The court concluded that the record on appeal does not reveal the sources of the accumulated funds in the defendant’s account because the district court did not hold the hearing he requested. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings.

Court Description

[Loken, Author, with Smith, Chief Judge, and Wollman, Circuit Judge] Criminal case – Criminal law. Kidd appeals an order directing the application of funds from his inmate account to pay his restitution. The court agrees with the Fifth and Ninth Circuits that 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3664(n) governing the application of inmate account funds to restitution does not apply to prison wages; however, the record on appeal does not reveal the sources of the accumulated funds in Kidd’s account because the district court did not hold the hearing he requested. The district court’s order is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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