THIRD STIMULUS CHECK WOULD GO TO PRISONERS, INCLUDING ‘BOSTON MARATHON BOMBER’ DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV, SEN. TOM COTTON COMPLAINS; BUT PREVIOUS CHECKS DID, TOO
March 9, 2021
By Benjamin Kail
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and other Capitol Hill conservatives say COVID-19 stimulus checks shouldn’t go to incarcerated people, with Cotton claiming Democrats “will pay a price at the polls” because the likes of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and white supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof are potentially eligible for $1,400 payments along with most other Americans.
“How will sending stimulus checks to murderers and rapists in prison help solve the pandemic?” Cotton tweeted over the weekend.
But two previous COVID-19 aid packages, overwhelmingly approved by a Republican-controlled Senate and signed by then-President Donald Trump, also sent direct stimulus checks of $1,200 and $600 to inmates.
Jesse White, a policy counsel at the nonprofit Prisoners’ Legal Services, told GBH in October that “almost every prisoner in Massachusetts” should be eligible for stimulus payments, because “the vast majority are under the poverty line.”
In October, after confusion about the IRS’s failed attempt to block checks from prisoners, the Prison Legal Assistance Project at Harvard Law School said stimulus funds for incarcerated people were “long overdue.”
Organizers called it a “myth” that incarcerated people are “bad and undeserving” while all others, no matter any wrongs they may have committed, are “good and deserving.”