Monday, October 19, 2015

Meanwhile in Alabama: A cause close to my heart.

First things first.
We all make mistakes and most of us have been in trouble with the law at some point in our lives for something. No one is perfect.
My beautiful fiance was locked up in August due to a traffic ticket he got years ago, and never paid. Granted he should have taken care of it. But it is really worth six months of his life because he didn't have the grand to take care of the fines?

Blount County Alabama This year. He was locked up and given 180 days when our son was six months old. He has missed him learning to crawl. Missed his first babbles, will miss his first Halloween, and probable Christmas too and quite possibly learning to walk, since Rowan is cruising along quite bravely and nicely now.
It's sad but there not much I can do, short of getting a lawyer, which I don't have the money myself for, since I am raising the baby; now- without help.
Plus + seems to me a risky gamble to put out 300-600+ for a lawyer for a CHANCE to get him out of jail. Seems the money would be better put on his fines. But so I've heard, even if the fine is paid in full, they have no plans to release him until FEB/MARCH NEXT YEAR.
Meanwhile his ex is writing him letters in jail, and if she keeps mentioning me & my child in them I'll be right there in jail alongside him...

I'm just saying.
Anyway- so when I saw this DOC short, it was a cause close to my heart that I thought I'd share.
Really pisses me off how money can buy you everything. I got even more mad this weekend when 20/20 aired their "Affluenza" defense special about a teen who killed 4 and injured 14 driving drunk and got a light slap on the wrist got out of all jail time and went to a ritzy "rehab" instead, simply because his parents are (billionaires?) or millionaires.
What really threw me is that this doc is about Alabama residents not being able to pay and being punished for being poor, which is basically what has happened to us. Seems silly his FTA dui granted him 6 mo in jail... meanwhile in Texas, ppl are plowing into each other and KILLING people and not serving ANY jail time. BC they have money to hire a defense team.. *sigh* I do know ppl have to be held accountable for their actions but no lives were taken and no outsider injured and it was YEARS ago.  It's just about the money. I know these counties and towns and cities need the money to pay for their staff, and prisons and roads.. but punishing residents for inabilities to pay seems quite out of hand. Traffic court tickets are outlandishly priced anyhow considering they are closely matched to drug fines which should be ten fold steeper. I do understand making examples out of FTA but 6 mo seems VERY steep for that "crime".

Many people think that debtor’s prisons disappeared from American society just as surely as horse-based transportation. But in fact, people who are too poor to pay fines are still being threatened with incarceration -- and even imprisoned -- today. Add private, for-profit companies to the mix, and you've got a system that abuses those who can least afford it, with disastrous effects on poor people and communities of color. We’ve long known that issues of mass incarceration disproportionately affect poor people. We found that the wealthier a person is when arrested, the less he or she will pay in terms of money and freedom. A rich person can pay bail right away and go home, receiving his or her money back upon returning to court. A poor person accused of the same thing must pay fees to a bail bondsmen to secure freedom, but that fee is never refunded. That means that a teacher might pay $40,000 in bail fines, when a movie star charged with the same offense would pay nothing.

We see a similar dynamic with private probation companies.  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. 

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Shit's crazy I guess it depends on your Judge and DA which in this case he must have gotten really unlucky.. I wish that they would see how much he is going to miss of his child's life that he can never get back. I think people selling drugs have been in & out of blount county jail since Andy has been in there. THAT SHIT CRAY! Meanwhile the county is robbing me blind trying to help him out with commissary and phone calls. I bet the money they've made off his family w "fees" alone and profiting commissary snacks would be half of his fine by now.
I'm sure when he get's out they'll put him on "probation" and he might end up back in there. Mind blowing.  It's far from over.
I don't understand legal matters at all clearly. All I know is I'm ready for all this to be over.
Time to break out the Voo-Doo, all else has failed.


DISCLOSURE: No one pitched to me or paid me to write this blog. I wrote it out of the goodness of my own heart and no monies were exchanged.


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