HomeWRN InvestigatesWisconsin Prison Inmates Getting Stimulus Checks in 2021

Wisconsin Prison Inmates Getting Stimulus Checks in 2021

$1,400 for most prison inmates getting stimulus checks, who of course, have no income or virtually no income because they’re incarcerated.

We were told by a source in the Wisconsin state prison system that people would be shocked if they knew how many inmates are getting economic stimulus checks from the government.

The checks keep flowing into the prisons, the source said.

How many Wisconsin prison inmates getting stimulus checks are there? The prison system says it’s impossible to calculate, but, with approximately 20,000 inmates, and based on what our source told us, it’s a lot.

This comes as Republican Sen. Tom Cotton has been using his Twitter page to reveal that heinous criminals across the country – such as the Boston Marathon bomber and mass shooter at a historic black church – are getting $1,400 stimulus checks.


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We reached out to John Beard, director of communications for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and he noted that inmates are receiving stimulus checks because a federal court ruled that they can not be denied them.

The court ruling in question came down in October 2020 from Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to CNBC, she ruled that the government can’t withhold stimulus checks from incarcerated Americans, who number 1.5 million people. Before the court decision, the government had shelled out $100 million to prison inmates getting stimulus check before stopping the process. After the court decision, stimulus checks started doing out to inmates again.

The IRS advises,

Pursuant to a permanent injunction entered in Scholl v. Mnuchin, No. 20-cv-05309 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 14, 2020), appeal docketed, No. 20-17077 (9th Cir.), the IRS cannot deny a payment to someone who is incarcerated if they meet the criteria described above in the response to Q A1. Information can be provided to the IRS by using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info here online tool by November 21, 2020.

It’s about to be even more with Congress authorizing President Joe Biden’s new stimulus relief plan, which allows for $1,400 for people who meet income guidelines. Many inmates, of course, have no income or virtually no income because they’re incarcerated, setting them up to qualify for the government dole out.


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“In general, I would note Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) to incarcerated persons is not a Wisconsin DOC program. We have shared information communicated to us by the IRS related to the payments,” Beard told Wisconsin Right Now.

“A federal court ruled in October the IRS could not withhold the payments from people in prisons,” he said.

We asked Beard how Wisconsin DOC handled the checks when the checks arrive in the mail?

“The stimulus checks are processed and deposited into the trust account of the person in our care,” he said.

We asked, “Are they given to the inmates? Or confiscated to pay court fees or ordered restitution?”

“Under the guidelines put forth by the IRS, the first round of stimulus payments was eligible for deductions to be taken to include child support payments, and the second round of payments was not eligible for deductions,” said Beard.

“Are the inmates able to deposit them into an account or commissary?” we asked.

“Economic Stimulus Payment checks received at the institutions are deposited into the person’s trust account,” he repeated. He indicated there is no way to know how many inmates have received the checks, commenting, “No, there is not a way without manually looking at 20,000 or so individual accounts.”

Prison Inmates Getting Stimulus Checks

As to whether inmates file tax returns, he said, “Persons in our care would be no different than someone in the community if they meet the IRS rules for who is required to file taxes. There are tax forms available in institution libraries. DOC does not provide tax advise per our policy.”

Beard said that a federal court ordered that “notice be given to incarcerated people” when they qualify for stimulus checks, and the IRS form and instructions are made available.

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