ACLU Claims Punishment for Failure to Pay Fines is Debtor’s Prison
I found this article interesting in that I generally oppose the idea of “Debtors Prison” but my personal experience leads me to neither believe this to be a real debtor’s prison, and to support a different kind of incarceration for a good deal of these folks.
Initially, it appears necessary to express my thoughts on incarceration in general. There are two categories of crimes as I view them. The first are crimes which are wrong because they create victims and harm people. Second, there are crimes made of acts which have been prohibited in an effort to prevent the first class of crimes. I don’t even think the second class of ‘crimes’ should exist, but to the extent that it does, it should be a fine with no possibility of incarceration, and standard civil means of collections. My model, however, differs from the examples complained of in the article, which bemoans people not paying a fine for misdemeanor convictions (even if they relate to traffic) which are statutorily punishable by six months in jail, or a fine. So, without further adieu…
First. I support perjurer’s prison. The article notes that 2/3rds of defendants are ‘indigent’ meaning they cannot pay. This is untrue. 2/3rd’s of defendants fill out a form which exonerates them from the burden of paying for an attorney or paying fines or costs, and which no one actually evaluates for truth. Probably 1/6th of defendants are actually indigent. The half of defendants who lie in order to steal public funds to pay their attorneys should be investigated and imprisoned for perjury, forgery and theft.
Second. I support imprisonment for obstinate refusal to conform to community-based sanctions, among which are the paying of fines and costs. For the greater part anyone incarcerated, as alleged, for not paying a fine could have been incarcerated outright. They were fined in lieu of incarceration. When they failed to pay their fine, they were incarcerated in lieu of their fine. If they received incarceration time and a fine, and then were re-incarcerated for failing to pay the fine, that would be imprisonment for a public debt.
Third. Incarceration should never, ever, as implied by the ACLU, be motivated on the making of money. That is disgusting. You do not steal a citizen’s liberty in order to make revenue. It is a damn outrage even to say so. Just fines, to the extent that they exist, are levied not to pad the public purse, but to create an economic incentive upon the defendant to comply with the law. It should cost money to incarcerate criminals and people are happy to pay that money. That is why government exists, because we cannot punish criminals privately. Government does not exist to give money away to free to those who refuse to work.
Fourth. What of Child Support? Unlike the above examples, imprisoning someone for not paying their child support is debtor’s prison. They are being imprisoned not for committing a crime and incurring an alternative punishment between fine and incarceration, but instead for possessing a private debt. Worse, under the perverted laws of our country, these people are being incarcerated for a debt incurred 100% voluntarily on the part of the person owed over whom they have no control or influence. That’s right, in this country every child is born based solely on the choice of a woman, and therefore every man incarcerated for failing to pay for children is forced into a prison for a debt he did not choose and over which he had no say, owed to a private person.
Why isn’t the ACLU getting upset about that?
This has been your S/V Danneskjöld Christmas message.
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- Local courts reviving ‘debtors’ prison’ for overdue fines, fees (foxnews.com)
- Totally Wrong Christmas Story: Re-Invention Of Debtors Prison (politicaloutcast.com)
- Local Courts tossing people in Debtors Prison (americanforchange.com)
- Cash-Strapped Cities Return Debtor’s Prisons Return To America (patdollard.com)
- ACLU tracks Colorado courts unlawfully jailing poor people (coloradoindependent.com)
- Debtor’s Prisons On The Rise In America (downtrend.com)