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IN OUR VIEW/Tax Dollars In Prison: Action offers hope to claw back stimulus payments from some prisoners

January 7, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently serving a life sentence in the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, after being convicted for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

He was also ordered to pay victim restitution of more than $100,000. So far he's managed to pay about $2,000 toward that, according to federal prosecutors.

But that total might go up -- just a bit.

It seems despite being locked up for life, Tsarnaev managed to qualify for a federal COVID-19 stimulus payment of $1,400 that was deposited into his inmate trust account in July of last year.

No, we're not kidding.

Now prosecutors have moved to seize those funds toward restitution.

Of course, we suspect many readers are wondering just why a prisoner is getting stimulus money. The answers is that thousands of prisoners have received millions of dollars overall in the stimulus rounds. Congress didn't include a provision barring prisoners from getting checks and when the IRS tried to do so, inmates took them to court and a judge sided with the convicts. Prisoners have also prevailed in court against jails and prisons that sought to confiscate the money to help pay for their incarceration.

Again, we aren't kidding.

So it looks like, in many cases, there's nothing that can be done. But if prosecutors make their case against the Boston Marathon bomber, it might pave the way for at least some of those millions to compensate victims instead of benefiting perpetrators.

We wish them luck.

Print Headline: IN OUR VIEW/Tax Dollars In Prison: Action offers hope to claw back stimulus payments from some prisoners

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