VIDEO: To Prison For Poverty | MyFDL
Sometimes I hear from HOA residents that they feel like they are in prison. But there are some people who actually have been incarcerated because of privatization. Private probation companies are getting people locked up for not paying--a modern reincarnation of debtor's prison. And there's a video that tells their story, with a writeup by one of the directors at the link:
"If someone gets a traffic ticket and can’t pay, the judge puts them on “probation,” which really means walking down the hall and signing up for a payment plan with a private probation company who has a contract with the court. If they can’t pay, they go to jail. (Which is somehow supposed to make paying the ticket easier for someone who can’t afford it in the first place.) Like payday lenders, these for-profit companies seek out neighborhoods where they know the population will, on average, have a tougher time paying traffic tickets out right. Then they charge exorbitant fees. Hali Wood was hit with a $41 seat belt ticket. Her payment plan charged a monthly fee of $35. That’s 85% interest! This is unlike any other probation programs we’ve run across in almost two years of producing documentaries about the criminal justice system. Probation is supposed to help people avoid jail or prison. These companies are simply collections agencies on steroids."