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(Christian Science Monitor)   Great news everyone: Debtor's prisons are back   (csmonitor.com) divider line 330
    More: Scary, jail, debtors, worksheets, convictions  
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21770 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Dec 2012 at 6:14 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-19 04:27:02 PM  
You have got to have some pretty shiatty friends and family if they can't collectively put together $200 to bail you out.
 
2012-12-19 04:36:32 PM  
Anything that hurts the 'poor'. 
 
2012-12-19 04:42:11 PM  
Last summer I worked for the public defender's office. 
 
One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at. The jail wouldn't release him because he couldn't pay the bond (which was probably around $250, though I can't say for certain).
 
Think about that for a moment, law and order types. This man will have spent weeks upon weeks in jail because he was too poor to leave, for the crime of grabbing a bottle of baby aspirin off the shelf of a CVS and trying to walk out with it.
 
Debtor's prisons have already been here.
 
2012-12-19 04:46:01 PM  

Rincewind53: Last summer I worked for the public defender's office. 
 
One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at. The jail wouldn't release him because he couldn't pay the bond (which was probably around $250, though I can't say for certain).
 
Think about that for a moment, law and order types. This man will have spent weeks upon weeks in jail because he was too poor to leave, for the crime of grabbing a bottle of baby aspirin off the shelf of a CVS and trying to walk out with it.
 
Debtor's prisons have already been here.



How much did this cost the taxpayers? 
 
2012-12-19 04:48:52 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Anything that hurts the 'poor'.



Well, sure... if we make poverty illegal, it'll solve all the associated problems
 
/QED
 
2012-12-19 04:49:34 PM  

OwenFark: You have got to have some pretty shiatty friends and family if they can't collectively put together $200 to bail you out.



If friends and family can't pony up $200 to get you out of jail maybe it's you that's the shiatty one.
 
2012-12-19 04:54:26 PM  

sammyk: t pony up $200 to get you out of jail maybe it's you that's the shiatty one

 
She stole an iphone out of an unlocked car, obviously she is shiatty.
 
2012-12-19 04:58:18 PM  

Nadie_AZ: How much did this cost the taxpayers?


Well, if the >$1,000 for a 50-night stay was the case in New Orleans, in a smaller county jail like this one, probably cost the county $1500 bucks or so?
 

sammyk: If friends and family can't pony up $200 to get you out of jail maybe it's you that's the shiatty one.


I don't think you understand how poor some people are. Another person I saw who had come in to court to deal with a minor infraction was told by the judge that she would need to pay $30. She told him (and I believed her), that she wouldn't be able to do that for two weeks until payday. For many families in America, to save up $200 after expenses would take at least a month.
 
2012-12-19 05:19:32 PM  

Rincewind53: Another person I saw who had come in to court to deal with a minor infraction was told by the judge that she would need to pay $30. She told him (and I believed her), that she wouldn't be able to do that for two weeks until payday. For many families in America, to save up $200 after expenses would take at least a month.



Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.
 
2012-12-19 05:24:58 PM  

vernonFL: Rincewind53: Another person I saw who had come in to court to deal with a minor infraction was told by the judge that she would need to pay $30. She told him (and I believed her), that she wouldn't be able to do that for two weeks until payday. For many families in America, to save up $200 after expenses would take at least a month.


Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.



Or pawn their refrigerators and microwaves.  Right?
 
2012-12-19 05:29:28 PM  
Cash bonds should be a last resort to ensure a person shows up in court, not the default option.  And if it costs $200 to process surety bond paperwork, somebody is way overpaid.
 
2012-12-19 05:29:36 PM  

Rincewind53: Last summer I worked for the public defender's office. 
 
One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at. The jail wouldn't release him because he couldn't pay the bond (which was probably around $250, though I can't say for certain).
 
Think about that for a moment, law and order types. This man will have spent weeks upon weeks in jail because he was too poor to leave, for the crime of grabbing a bottle of baby aspirin off the shelf of a CVS and trying to walk out with it.
 
Debtor's prisons have already been here.


He's actually in jail for the crime of theft.

Prisoners, in jail for theft! What is the world coming to!

Although honestly, I'd like to see theft punished by one lash or one day in jail determined by the value pf the stolen goods. A 4 dollar bottle? You can take your lashes and be out on the street that afternoon. A car? We're gonna need you to re-think asking for 40,000 lashes, sir. We have a monthly maximum of 100 or so.
 
2012-12-19 05:40:26 PM  
And there was much Republican rejoicing.
 
2012-12-19 05:42:23 PM  

sammyk: OwenFark: You have got to have some pretty shiatty friends and family if they can't collectively put together $200 to bail you out.


If friends and family can't pony up $200 to get you out of jail maybe it's you that's the shiatty one.


Those goddamn poor people, they're so...poor! And I have to live in the same county as them! That's not the America Reagan promised me!
 
2012-12-19 05:43:45 PM  

vernonFL: Rincewind53: Another person I saw who had come in to court to deal with a minor infraction was told by the judge that she would need to pay $30. She told him (and I believed her), that she wouldn't be able to do that for two weeks until payday. For many families in America, to save up $200 after expenses would take at least a month.


Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.



I would also bet a lot of them have family members that smoke or drink alcohol or have cable tv.  All luxuries.
 
2012-12-19 05:47:58 PM  

doglover: He's actually in jail for the crime of theft.


I know you're being satirical, but a lot of people won't get it.
 
So just to clarify, people, this guy was  not  in jail for the crime of stealing. He was in pre-trial detention in the county jail because he could not pay the bond, before he had been convicted, and for a vastly longer time in the jail than he would get were he actually to be sentenced.
 
2012-12-19 05:54:12 PM  

vernonFL: Rincewind53: Another person I saw who had come in to court to deal with a minor infraction was told by the judge that she would need to pay $30. She told him (and I believed her), that she wouldn't be able to do that for two weeks until payday. For many families in America, to save up $200 after expenses would take at least a month.


Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.



Maybe they should just stop being poor, right? 
 
Or they could simply go on food stamps and welfare, since those make people live plush and amazingly wealthy lifestyles. 
 
2012-12-19 06:00:53 PM  

vernonFL: Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.


Yeah, why don't the poor just stop being poor? It's totally their fault that we have a system where people are thrown in jail for weeks, before trial, all at the expense of the taxpayer!
 
2012-12-19 06:10:44 PM  

Rincewind53: Last summer I worked for the public defender's office. 
 
One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at. The jail wouldn't release him because he couldn't pay the bond (which was probably around $250, though I can't say for certain).
 
Think about that for a moment, law and order types. This man will have spent weeks upon weeks in jail because he was too poor to leave, for the crime of grabbing a bottle of baby aspirin off the shelf of a CVS and trying to walk out with it.
 
Debtor's prisons have already been here.



This is a perfect example.
 

Rincewind53: vernonFL: Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.

Yeah, why don't the poor just stop being poor? It's totally their fault that we have a system where people are thrown in jail for weeks, before trial, all at the expense of the taxpayer!



Yeah, they get thrown in jail, lose whatever residence they may be hanging onto and whatever employment, then they get thrown back in because they can't pay fines or are driving on a license that is suspended for not paying fines, court costs, or child support. It's almost as if there are people that profit from bullsh*t incarcerations.
 
2012-12-19 06:11:28 PM  

Rincewind53: doglover: He's actually in jail for the crime of theft.

I know you're being satirical, but a lot of people won't get it.
 
So just to clarify, people, this guy was  not  in jail for the crime of stealing. He was in pre-trial detention in the county jail because he could not pay the bond, before he had been convicted, and for a vastly longer time in the jail than he would get were he actually to be sentenced.


This is also the reason plea bargains are so frequent: they can't afford to be in jail and they can't afford to pay the bond.  Even though you're innocent, if you can't get out of bond you can be in jail for a very long time before you get a trial.  Of course, plea bargains are also designed to put poor people back in jail because they have hefty monthly fees often attached, plus you have to check in every so often with your parole officer, which may not be possible while keeping your undoubtedly low paying job.
 
The whole system is rigged against poor people, and rigged against reforming people.  It's the reason the recidivism rate is so high in the US.
 
2012-12-19 06:15:48 PM  

Rincewind53: He was in pre-trial detention in the county jail because he could not pay the bond, before he had been convicted, and for a vastly longer time in the jail than he would get were he actually to be sentenced.


I've been there. I didn't even have to do anything. False charges. Although being innocent helped with later events, like having the case records expunged, 100 days of piss tests, curfew, breathalyzers, and general humiliation for being innocent is the price you must pay to live in the United States of America.

And people call me a troll or silly when I'm opposed to America's legal system and adding even more laws like the current discussion of gun bans. I'd be perfectly willing to discuss a gun ban when THE SYSTEM ISN'T ALREADY BROKEN! You don't load a new basket on an injured donkey.
 
2012-12-19 06:17:25 PM  

Rincewind53: vernonFL: Maybe they need to work harder or more hours or get better paying jobs.

Yeah, why don't the poor just stop being poor? It's totally their fault that we have a system where people are thrown in jail for weeks, before trial, all at the expense of the taxpayer!



To have not just one person, but an entire family of working aged people living in poverty is more than just the misfortune of being poor. That's not the result of making one bad decision in your life that haunts you forever, if you are so freaking poor that you can't even scrounge up $200, then that's the result of long term, systemic bad decision making, probably generations of it throughout the family. The only way to resolve this problem is to stop playing the victim card for these people, and give them the tools they need to better themselves, rather than the lifetime of handouts we offer many people today.
 
Yeah, sometimes it takes a long time, and a lot of difficult hardships like having to work full time while attending school, but I'm sick and tired of hearing people sympathizing with the chronically impoverished, especially when we live in a society that provides so many opportunities for success that people won't take advantage of. People need to stop feeling sorry for themselves and do something about it, break that cycle of poverty.
 
2012-12-19 06:18:21 PM  
i55.tinypic.com
If you can't pay the fine, don't do the crime.
 
2012-12-19 06:19:58 PM  

OwenFark: You have got to have some be pretty shiatty if friends and family if they can't won't collectively put together $200 to bail you out.

 
2012-12-19 06:21:36 PM  
I'm not sure if people are too sheltered or programmed to hate poverty and/or crime, but whatever the case may be, the article shines a light on a major problem in America. It has nothing to do with justice.
 
2012-12-19 06:22:32 PM  

AbbeySomeone: It's almost as if there are people that profit from bullsh*t incarcerations.


Not in the USA!

www.ticklethewire.com

Especially not in Pennsylvania!
 
2012-12-19 06:22:35 PM  
The teenager opened her neighbor's unlocked car, grabbed the iPhone off the armrest and ran home, a few doors away in her downtown neighborhood here.

Perchelle Richardson still isn't sure why she took the phone. Just five days earlier, for her 18th birthday, her mother had given her a standard, no-frills cellphone. But she loved the way iPhones looked, and her little brothers had seen this one through the car window as they played outside.


Uh... if you are trying to garner my sympathy (and I'm bleeding heart libby lib libtard by most standards) with this opening you have failed miserably.

18? Just got a new phone bought for her? Steals somebody else's? None of her friends or family can be arsed to come up with $200?

F*ck off. 

And what the hell does that have to do with debtors prisons? She broke criminal law by stealing. She's not in jail because she didn't pay her cable bill.
 
2012-12-19 06:23:39 PM  
So it's not a debtor's prison. They've been charged with a crime and are awaiting a trial. That's a different thing.

Kind of shiatty, to be fair. And, as the article called out, likely expensive for us taxpayers, too.
 
2012-12-19 06:24:42 PM  
I've spent around 90-120 days in county jail in Arizona, all back in my 20's, and all because I couldn't afford a fine. Pinal county likes to stick you at $10/day for a fine, so a $300 fine is a month in jail, and so on. It's scary how easy it is to let something slip, get busted and then have no choice but to sit in jail and risk losing just what the article stated. Usually your job first, then your apartment, then everything you own. That means that when you get out, you are homeless and jobless.

It's also scary how it is for someone to neglect to enter your data correctly and the end result be that you sit in jail for 9 hours while your wife runs around to borrow money so that you can repay the fine and then wait up to 6 weeks for the original court to refund your farking money.

Really, it's just about using you to generate money, that's all.
 
2012-12-19 06:25:30 PM  
I'm really sorry for saying this, but could someone explain how this situation is exactly like a debtor's prison?  I honestly don't understand.  On one hand, I understand that they aren't in jail for theft; rather, they're in jail because they can't pay bail to leave before their day in court.   It doesn't seem to me that they were placed in jail for failing to pay a debt.  But now that I've typed that out, it occurs to me that they're kept in jail because they can't pay a debt.  Is this accurate?  Could someone explain?
 
2012-12-19 06:25:32 PM  

spman: To have not just one person, but an entire family of working aged people living in poverty is more than just the misfortune of being poor. That's not the result of making one bad decision in your life that haunts you forever, if you are so freaking poor that you can't even scrounge up $200, then that's the result of long term, systemic bad decision making, probably generations of it throughout the family. The only way to resolve this problem is to stop playing the victim card for these people, and give them the tools they need to better themselves, rather than the lifetime of handouts we offer many people today.
 
Yeah, sometimes it takes a long time, and a lot of difficult hardships like having to work full time while attending school, but I'm sick and tired of hearing people sympathizing with the chronically impoverished, especially when we live in a society that provides so many opportunities for success that people won't take advantage of. People need to stop feeling sorry for themselves and do something about it, break that cycle of poverty.

 
I could write out a long post about cycles of poverty, factors beyond people's control, built-in social cues, privilege, and everything, but I just can't bring myself to do it when you appear to have already made up your mind that long-term poverty is the fault of the poor and not the fault of the system. I'll just leave you with this quote from an incredible good survey, and this single chart, in answer to your "we live in a society that provides so many opportunities for success":
 
jaredbernsteinblog.com
"Overall, the evidence indicates that over the 1969-to-2006 time span, family income mobility across the distribution decreased, families' later-year incomes increasingly depended on their starting place, and the distribution of families' lifetime incomes became less equal."  http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/wp/wp2011/wp1110.pdf
 
2012-12-19 06:26:20 PM  
Debtors prison is real, I am on misdemeanor probation, my child support was calculated incorrectly at more than %100 of my income. I am now facing a probation violation on the misdemeanor charge because I could not pay all of the child support, my probation states I must follow all court orders. I'm waiting for court as we speak and since then child support has figured out their mistake but the damage has been done. First point my lawyer had was that we don't have debtors prison. Not so cool story bro...
 
2012-12-19 06:26:39 PM  
You have to be pretty stupid to steal an iPhone nowadays what with all the tracking apps available. Send her to prison for sheer stupidity alone. I have no sympathy for criminals like that. None whatsoever.
 
2012-12-19 06:27:19 PM  
Cool, I'm broke and owe money

Sign me up. I'll take some free room and board with meals. Plus they have cable.
 
2012-12-19 06:27:34 PM  

here to help: Uh... if you are trying to garner my sympathy (and I'm bleeding heart libby lib libtard by most standards) with this opening you have failed miserably.

18? Just got a new phone bought for her? Steals somebody else's? None of her friends or family can be arsed to come up with $200?

F*ck off. 

And what the hell does that have to do with debtors prisons? She broke criminal law by stealing. She's not in jail because she didn't pay her cable bill.


Again, she's  not in jail for stealing. She's in jail because neither she nor her family could easily afford to pay a $200  administrative fee that is required for a family member to sign her out of jail, where she was placed  awaiting trial
 
2012-12-19 06:28:15 PM  

spman: especially when we live in a society that provides so many opportunities for success that people won't take advantage of.


citation plz
 
2012-12-19 06:30:43 PM  

Rincewind53: Again, she's not in jail for stealing. She's in jail because neither she nor her family could easily afford to pay a $200 administrative fee that is required for a family member to sign her out of jail, where she was placed awaiting trial.


She is in the situation due to her choice to steal.
 
2012-12-19 06:32:44 PM  

Nadie_AZ: How much did this cost the taxpayers?


Oh no worries about that. They'll bill him for the cost of his stay in jail. And if he can't pay it? They'll put him back in jail.

So it doesn't cost taxpayers a dime.
 
2012-12-19 06:32:50 PM  

Rincewind53: Again, she's not in jail for stealing. She's in jail because neither she nor her family could easily afford to pay a $200 administrative fee that is required for a family member to sign her out of jail, where she was placed awaiting trial.


That does not a debtors prison make. Seriously there are REAL cases of debtors prison type scenarios going on. Some dumb broad stealing a phone is not, IMO, a good way to garner sympathy for the cause. You f*ck up, you go to prison. You can't make bail, you sit in prison until your court date. This is news?

See... this why you DON'T F*CKING STEAL OTHER PEOPLE'S SH*T!!

Let the little twunt learn a lesson. It's obvious her parents haven't bothered teaching her about repercussions.
 
2012-12-19 06:33:02 PM  

Rincewind53: One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at. The jail wouldn't release him because he couldn't pay the bond (which was probably around $250, though I can't say for certain).



I'm taking away that it's better to beg someone to purchase the aspirin for you in that situation than to shoplift it.
 
2012-12-19 06:33:20 PM  

Rincewind53: One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at.


It's illegal to steal things, even small things.
 
2012-12-19 06:33:32 PM  

MorePeasPlease: Rincewind53: Again, she's not in jail for stealing. She's in jail because neither she nor her family could easily afford to pay a $200 administrative fee that is required for a family member to sign her out of jail, where she was placed awaiting trial.

She is in the situation due to her choice to steal.


Thankfully, however, our criminal justice system doesn't work the way you seem to think it should work. She hasn't been sentenced to any crime, she isn't a flight risk, and there is no reason for her to go to jail. And as a first offense, one that she says she was very sorry for and who didn't try to hide from the cops, or anything like that, her actual sentence would have likely been community service, no jail time. Indeed, in the end she didn't actually get anything on her record.
 
Instead, she was a high school student who spent 50 days in jail with no little contact with the outside world, because of poverty, because she couldn't pay an adminstrative fee! And you think that's perfectly fine?
 
2012-12-19 06:33:32 PM  

spman: if you are so freaking poor that you can't even scrounge up $200, then that's the result of long term, systemic bad decision making, probably generations of it throughout the family. The only way to resolve this problem is to stop playing the victim card for these people, and give them the tools they need to better themselves, rather than the lifetime of handouts we offer many people today.


Oh, yes, of course - bad decision-making! I couldn't get $200 together if my life depended on it, but hey, I should have known better than to get multiple diseases I'll have for the rest of my life. I shouldn't be spending so much time in hospitals getting treatments and surgeries - I could just die, you know? But I guess that's "bad decision-making" on my part.

And by the way, the "lifetimes of handouts" you describe don't exist. SSDI is extremely hard to get (I've been trying for years), and there are no public assistance programs that just give you cash.

But hey, whatever lies help you sleep at night.
 
2012-12-19 06:33:54 PM  

Rincewind53: Last summer I worked for the public defender's office. 
 
One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at. The jail wouldn't release him because he couldn't pay the bond (which was probably around $250, though I can't say for certain).
 
Think about that for a moment, law and order types. This man will have spent weeks upon weeks in jail because he was too poor to leave, for the crime of grabbing a bottle of baby aspirin off the shelf of a CVS and trying to walk out with it.
 
Debtor's prisons have already been here.


Jean Valjean?
 
2012-12-19 06:35:10 PM  
6 page article covering very real data, and most people can't read past the first 3 lines.
 
2012-12-19 06:35:19 PM  

Rincewind53: Instead, she was a high school student who spent 50 days in jail with no little contact with the outside world, because of poverty, because she couldn't pay an adminstrative fee! And you think that's perfectly fine?


No, I'm just observing that the whole goddamn mess could have been avoided had she not stolen the farking phone.
 
2012-12-19 06:35:36 PM  

LoneVVolf: Rincewind53: One of the people who I went to see in the county jail had been there for more than one month at that point. He was a nearly-homeless man, really poor. His crime? He tried to shoplift a $4 bottle of baby aspirin to bring to a kid who was living with her mom in the trailer he had been crashing at.

It's illegal to steal things, even small things.


And? He was in jail for  weeks. Before trial. For misdemeanor petit theft <$100, which typical carries a penalty of a couple days in jail or maybe community service, as long as restitution (paying back) is done.
 
Do you think that's okay?
 
2012-12-19 06:36:04 PM  

Counter_Intelligent: I'm really sorry for saying this, but could someone explain how this situation is exactly like a debtor's prison?  I honestly don't understand.  On one hand, I understand that they aren't in jail for theft; rather, they're in jail because they can't pay bail to leave before their day in court.   It doesn't seem to me that they were placed in jail for failing to pay a debt.  But now that I've typed that out, it occurs to me that they're kept in jail because they can't pay a debt.  Is this accurate?  Could someone explain?


in austin I know you are credited like $50 a day in jail towards fines. because if someone can't pay their fine, they can't just say well no punishment for you then sir.
I know in some parts liberal parts of california it works the opposite way. you get charged a significant daily fee for being housed in jail and the county sends you a bill once you are released. I don't know wtf they do with the poor in cases where they are jailed. they must have a deferral program if you can prove significant hardship.
 
2012-12-19 06:36:06 PM  

GAT_00: Rincewind53: doglover: He's actually in jail for the crime of theft.

I know you're being satirical, but a lot of people won't get it.
 
So just to clarify, people, this guy was  not  in jail for the crime of stealing. He was in pre-trial detention in the county jail because he could not pay the bond, before he had been convicted, and for a vastly longer time in the jail than he would get were he actually to be sentenced.

This is also the reason plea bargains are so frequent: they can't afford to be in jail and they can't afford to pay the bond.  Even though you're innocent, if you can't get out of bond you can be in jail for a very long time before you get a trial.  Of course, plea bargains are also designed to put poor people back in jail because they have hefty monthly fees often attached, plus you have to check in every so often with your parole officer, which may not be possible while keeping your undoubtedly low paying job.
 
The whole system is rigged against poor people, and rigged against reforming people.  It's the reason the recidivism rate is so high in the US.


Why don't they just pay a large donation to the police force like everyone else to leave early?
 
2012-12-19 06:36:10 PM  
And in the case of the aspirin lifting hobo? Yeah, I'd be more sympathetic. Not for some spoiled entitled little snot who just wanted the shiny thing.

It's almost like this article was written to intentionally make people dismiss the REAL problems with the system.
 
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