7 comments
nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

Private probation A juicy secret http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/04/private-probation

"WHAT happens when you get a traffic ticket? Probably much gnashing of teeth, perhaps a tongue-lashing from the spouse and a groaning eye-roll as you get your checkbook and slip a hundred of your hard-earned dollars into that orange envelope of shame. But what if you can't pay that ticket? Well, in some states, including Georgia, you get passed over to one of dozens of private-probation companies. Since 2001 private companies have overseen misdemeanant probation, which includes not just minor crimes such as shoplifting, petty theft and public drunkenness, but also speeding tickets and other traffic violations.....

Penalties for such crimes rarely exceed a few hundred dollars, but of course not everyone has a few hundred dollars. That's where private-probation companies come in. I've written about these fees before, but here's a quick refresher: if you get hit with a $200 ticket you can't pay, then a private-probation company will let you pay it off in instalments, for a monthly fee. Then there may be additional fees for electronic monitoring, drug testing and classes—many of which are assigned not by a judge, but by the private company itself. When probationers cannot pay, courts issue warrants for their arrest and their probation terms are extended—a reprehensible practice known as "tolling", which a judge declared illegal last year. These are folks who had trouble paying the initial fine; you have to imagine they'll have trouble paying additional fines. It's plausible to posit that these firms' business models are based on assigning unpayable fees to people who lack the sophistication, time, will or whatever to contest them. One might even say these predatory firms treat the long arm of the law as sort of lever on a juicer into which poor people are fed and squeezed to produce an endless stream of fees."

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock

Thank you, Nancy.  People are going to be hearing lots of reassurances from the Right, that they're all about compassion as well as cost.  The central question is whether they're dedicated to dismantling all forms of structural racism and other forms of structural violence – and not through "colorblindness."   If not, if this is missing from the vision with which they propose reforms, then watch out.


That's the word:  abolition. 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

thank you as always Kay...


we have our work cut out for us -- what else is there to say, but Abolition

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg moderator

@KayWhitlock and well, they are not committed to dismantling structural oppression -- the compassion is often color-blind individualized and faith-based and frequently ties into the personal responsibility theme.


it has its' limits

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