Prisoners' Money No Good With Gila County Jailers


Prisoners on bond can't get out of jail free in Gila County, and they can't use money to bail out either.

Beginning this month, inmates in the county's Globe and Payson jails must use money orders or cashier's checks to bond out of jail.

Captain Bill Blank of the Gila County Sheriff's Department said the change in policy protects the public and jail employees.

"It causes an operational nightmare for us," Blank said. "By using money orders, the person paying has a built-in receipt."

Large sums of cash also can be lost or misplaced, he said.

"When we take cash, there's an opportunity to lose it, to misplace it," he said. "On occasion, unfortunately, we've lost money --up to several hundred dollars' worth --and it had to be replaced by the county. Then, we have to polygraph everybody and make sure that no one took it. That causes a disruption of operation."

Accepting cash also leaves the department open to discrimination allegations, the captain said.

"We don't accept pesos. We don't take Canadian dollars," he said. "To be fair, we shouldn't take cash. Foreign money causes another nightmare, because we aren't going to keep up with the current rates of exchange."

The policy change also is an attempt to protect the health and safety of the staff and public, he said.

"At one time, we actually had someone pay with counterfeit money," he said. "We also had a gentleman come in and wanted to post bond for his buddy, and he had urinated on the money. We said, 'Hey look. Get this out of here. We're not going to exchange body fluids.' It becomes a big hassle.

"We're more than happy to complete the bond transaction as part of your legal right," he said, "but we do want to monitor it."

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