A California judge has ruled that incarcerated inmates are eligible to receive the $1,200 stimulus check issued by the federal government as support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Phyllis Hamilton, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said excluding incarcerated people from the stimulus package is arbitrary and that nothing in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act bars inmates from receiving funds.
The decision came after an incarcerated man and a group of formerly incarcerated women filed suit on behalf of the 1.5 million prisoners across the country. The IRS had originally sent payment to prisoners, but later told prison officials to collect and return checks that arrived at facilities for prisoners.
The IRS has until October 24 to decide how it will distribute payment to incarcerated people.