It's bad enough having to pull an 80-year prison sentence, but when they start overcharging you for soap, toothpaste and deodorant, something's got to give.
A convicted murderer locked up at Stateville Correctional Center filed a petition in Will Count Court claiming that he's been subjected to price-gouging by prison officials.
In his court filing, Robert Hernandez, 51, accuses Department of Corrections officials of flaunting a recommendation by the Illinois Auditor General to review the markup on items sold in prison commissaries.
Stateville, and other correctional centers, slaps a 25 percent increase on items sold from prison commissaries, according to the petition. The extra prison tax is 35 percent on tobacco products, the filing claims.
The surcharge is ostensibly in place to offset the wages and benefits of commissary employees, said an exhibit attached to the filing, but the markup does not match up with state law or the Unified Code of Corrections.
Hernandez raised the issue to the Stateville grievance officer but did not find satisfaction, according to the petition. He then appealed to the Department of Corrections' Administrative Review Board but was again rejected, the filing said.
Hernandez was convicted of murdering his girlfriend and trying, but failing, to murder a man he found her in bed with in 1986. He was living in Romeoville at the time of the killing and committed the murder in Downers Grove, according to court papers. He stabbed both his girlfriend and the other man with a pair of scissors.
Hernandez is up for parole in 2026.
In addition to forcing the Department of Corrections to reduce the surcharge on commissary items, Hernandez wants his commissary account credited for "all ill-gotten funds since Nov. 1, 2005." He figures that amounts to about $542.26.
In his filing, Hernandez pointed out that the prison commissary is the only place he can purchase such essentials as soap, toothpaste, deodorant, thermal underwear, gloves, hats, shoes, summer shorts, sunblock, aspirin, writing and correspondence material, and a fan.
He also noted that Stateville is locked down 23 hours a day, seven days a week and is "not air-conditioned, nor is there windows within the cells, making the fan (a) necessity."