Probation Fees Multiply as Companies Profit - NYTimes.com
"'With so many towns economically strapped, there is growing pressure on the courts to bring in money rather than mete out justice,” said Lisa W. Borden, a partner in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, a large law firm in Birmingham, Ala., who has spent a great deal of time on the issue. “The companies they hire are aggressive. Those arrested are not told about the right to counsel or asked whether they are indigent or offered an alternative to fines and jail. There are real constitutional issues at stake.'"
Good article exposing the way privatization arrangements with "private probation companies" are being implemented in ways that soak people for huge fines and even jail--the modern equivalent of debtors' prison.