The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Texas garnishment law – inmate funds

Although there is much to admire in the Texas statutory law of garnishment, Texas Code CP §63.001 et seq. also provides in §63.007 – Garnishment of funds held in inmate trust fund:

“(a) A writ of garnishment may be issued against an inmate trust fund held under the authority of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice under Section 501.014, Government Code, to encumber money that is held for the benefit of an inmate in the fund.”

With an example like this one can only wonder if this unusual provision was inserted because Texas prisoners were actually accumulating substantial cash reserves in their inmate trust funds. It seems unlikely.

Perhaps some Texas legislator with an over-active imagination and a tendency to think the worst took preemptive action by inserting this clause, just in case.

If it ever happens that a prison inmate accumulates a lot of cash, I’d be more interested in where the money came from.  My first thought would not be for the protection of institutional lenders.

Maybe the provision arose because the spouse or ex-spouse of an inmate was having difficulty collecting child support.  It’s hard to guess accurately about the legislative thinking that preceded the enactment.


Written by Tom Fox

01/09/2009 at 1:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. It is used quite often by the government in order to use the funds to pay for the inmates legal defense. And sometimes the money in an inmates account can be in the thousands of dollars even when they are claiming to be indigent in order for the state to pay for their legal defense.

    Pure Evyl

    01/09/2009 at 1:05 pm

  2. Thanks for the insight. It struck me odd. Texas garnishment law goes so far as to specifically exempt wages from garnishment:

    “Section 63.004. Current wages exempt. Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law, current wages for personal service are not subject to garnishment. The garnishee shall be discharged from the garnishment as to any debt to the defendant for current wages.”

    I assume that Texas inmates are allowed all the other exemptions provided for non-inmates, but I’d still like to know where the money is coming from. Illegal activity within prison? Gifts from the outside? Maybe from legitimate work-effort.

    It’s a side issue for me, though.


    01/09/2009 at 2:48 pm

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