In March, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit accusing Judicial Correction Services (a private for profit "probation company) and the city of Clanton, Alabama of operating an illegal racketeering scheme to extort money from poor residents.
JCS offers municipal courts its services at no cost to them. People who can’t pay traffic tickets and other minor fines in a lump sum are placed on what is known as “pay-only probation,” and judges assign JCS to collect payments. The company profits from fees it charges – typically $40 a month – to people making payments, prolonging their ordeal and making it more difficult to pay off their debt. Company officials often threaten people with jail to secure payment, and many defendants end up behind bars.
I'm scared to death of ever being poor in this country. Somewhere near 45% will tell the poor it's their own fault that they are poor, then take a shot at hitting the bulls-eye themselves just like JCS did.
How did a for profit probation system ever sound good to anybody? It never even crossed my mind that such a thing could exist.
I hope the SPLC gets the city itself on the hook for some large fines too. The federal government should let them pay over time for a $4000 monthly fee.