In case you all missed this news, earlier this month Arizona passed legislation imposing fees on visitors to prisoners, creating yet another obstacle to prisoners’ ability to communicate and maintain relationships with friends and loved ones outside prison walls.

At a time when states’ budgets are strapped, legislatures are charting new ground in their efforts to make prisons more profitable at the expense of the few basic rights prisoners still retain. Texas, for example, earlier this year tentatively approved a bill that would require inmates to pay $100 a year for healthcare (read more here).

Ashley Lucas commented on these events together in the context of prison economies in her insightful post on Razorwire women, in which she also points out that in Texas, prisoners are not paid any wages for their labor. The Texas legislation thus strikes a note as absurd and offensive as the California policy that Lucas describes, requiring prisoners to pay restitution fees for own their criminal convictions.