In Harpersville. First, go read John Archibald's "Justice" has been sold in Harpersville, Alabama.
It's barbaric. It's antiquated. It is, as Harrington put it, "disgraceful."
Right there in the richest county in Alabama.
And it happens more and more, across Alabama and the nation. The poor go to jail while the rest go home without a second thought
Then go read the story that was on the front page of the New York Times last week, Poor Land in Jail as Companies Add Huge Fees for Probation.
Childersburg, Alabama features prominently in that story. Local authorities there also outsource justice to Judicial Correction Services, just like Harpersville does.
One woman's $179 traffic ticket has turned into 40 days in jail and a debt of over $3000 -- much of that to cover the fees JSC imposes. Fees that take no consideration of ability to pay. One man has spent 2 years in jail and is in debt for over $10,000 to the probation company -- for traffic and license violations 10 years ago. Once JSC gets their hooks into someone who can't pay immediately, the fees just go up and up.
Outsourcing justice to a for profit company has created a catch-22 for poor offenders. They can't afford to pay the fine up front, so the fees get bigger, so they end up in jail, so they can't work, so they can't afford to pay the bigger fine either.
This is an incredibly innovative way to keep poor people poor ... and make them even poorer.
Outrage doesn't cover it, but I'm glad there's at least one judge (and John Archibald) who are outraged over this corruption of justice in Alabama.