Really, in 2014?! Being too poor to pay a traffic ticket is still putting people behind bars?

All across the country, we're seeing the rise of modern day debtors’ prisons: a cruel system that jails people for being too poor to pay sometimes very minor fines and fees. A small traffic fine can force a choice between putting food on the table and going to jail. The impact on communities, especially low-income communities of color, is devastating.

What makes the problem even worse are for-profit companies trying to make bank off of those who can least afford it.  Take for-profit probation, for example. Our courts are putting hundreds of thousands of people* on probation every year simply because they cannot afford to pay court fines and fees. These courts hand people over to private, for-profit companies who charge them exorbitant fees for their own so-called "supervision," consisting solely of debt-collection efforts. Some company officers resort to coercion to extract payments, threatening people with jail time if they don't pay, regardless of their financial circumstances.

The result?  Poor people find themselves scrambling for money they don’t have and forgoing basic necessities simply to preserve their liberty.

Take Marietta Connor, of Georgia, for example. Connor is a pastor and a veteran who stretches her small monthly disability check to pay for all of her food, transportation, and medical bills, and other expenses. Because she could not pay a private probation company $140 in fees on top of a ticket for a traffic violation, she was placed on probation and charged $39 a month by the company. Failure to pay would have meant time behind bars.

Nearly two centuries ago, the U.S. formally abolished jailing people who failed to pay off their debts. So why are these for-profit companies threatening people with time behind bars just for being poor?

From what we have learned so far, these are some judges who utilize private probation services. There will be more to come. Please share the videos we've produced in collaboration with the ACLU (click the Videos tab above) and this list to urge these judges to cut their ties with the private probation industry! 

To do more, please click the button below to sign our petition!

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City or Town
Judges
Public or Private?
     
Albertville, AL
James D. Walker
For-Profit
Anniston, AL
Vaughn Stewart
For-Profit
Arab, AL
Dave Beuoy
For-Profit
Attalla, AL
Kenneth Robertson
For-Profit
Bay Minette, AL
Bayless E. Biles
For-Profit
Birmingham, AL
Andra D. Sparks
For-Profit
Brent, AL
Brian S. Brinyark
For-Profit
Brewton, AL
William Stokes
For-Profit
Calera, AL
John A. McBrayer
For-Profit
Childersburg, AL
Larry Ward
For-Profit
Clanton, AL
John Hollis Jackson III
For-Profit
Daleville, AL
Joe Adams / Joe Gallo
For-Profit
Elberta, AL
Michael Dasinger III
For-Profit
Enterprise, AL
Steven E. Blair
For-Profit
Evergreen, AL
John Brock
For-Profit
Excel, AL
Katherine Coxwell
For-Profit
Fairhope, AL
Haymes S. Snedeker
For-Profit
Falkville, AL
Wayne K. Alexander, Jr.
For-Profit
Foley, AL
James E. Hall II
For-Profit
Fulton, AL
Ben Kelley
For-Profit
Fultondale, AL
George W. Witcher, Jr
For-Profit
Glencoe, AL
James Shelnutt
For-Profit
Gulf Shores, AL
Frank T. Hollon
For-Profit
Guntersville, AL
Robert R. Hembree
For-Profit
Haleyville, AL
Jonathan Lowe
For-Profit
Harpersville, AL
Larry Ward
For-Profit
Hartselle, AL
Mike Broom
For-Profit
Homewood, AL
Miles Huffstutler / Marcus Jones
For-Profit
Hoover, AL
Thomas Brad Bishop
For-Profit
Hueytown, AL
Ken Moore
For-Profit
Jackson, AL
Christopher A. Bailey
For-Profit
Jacksonville, AL
Joseph M. Maloney
For-Profit
Jemison, AL
D. Craig Cleckler
For-Profit
Kimberly, AL
William D. Wise
For-Profit
Leeds, AL
Pete Johnson
For-Profit
Loxley, AL
Michael Dasinger III
For-Profit
Midland City, AL
William B. Matthews Jr.
For-Profit
Millbrook, AL
Benjamin Pool
For-Profit
Monroeville, AL
Philip Sanchez IV
For-Profit
Montevallo, AL
Bruce M. Green
For-Profit
Montgomery, AL
Les Hayes III / Darron Hendley / Lloria James / Melton Westry
For-Profit
Mountain Brook, AL
Pete Johnson / Turner Williams
For-Profit
New Hope, AL
Polly Blalock
For-Profit
Northport, AL
Wayne Williams
For-Profit
Oneonta, AL
Elizabeth B. Nash
For-Profit
Orange Beach, AL
Julian B. Brackin
For-Profit
Owens Cross Roads, AL
Andrew John Segal
For-Profit
Ozark, AL
Robert H. Brogden
For-Profit
Pelham, AL
John A. McBrayer
For-Profit
Pleasant Grove, AL
Roger Halcomb
For-Profit
Prattville, AL
Louis C. Colley
For-Profit
Rainbow City, AL
Jay E. Stover
For-Profit
Robertsdale, AL
Julian B. Brackin
For-Profit
Saraland, AL
C. Mark Erwin
For-Profit
Scottsboro, AL
Ralph Grider
For-Profit
Selma, AL
Prince D. Chestnut / Joseph H. Hagood
For-Profit
Silverhill, AL
Kenneth R. Raines
For-Profit
Southside, AL
Garry Tucker
For-Profit
Summerdale, AL
D. Robert Stankoski Jr.
For-Profit
Sylacauga, AL
Barry D. Vaughn
For-Profit
Talladega, AL
Hank Fannin
For-Profit
Tallassee, AL
Linda Benson
For-Profit
Troy, AL
Nick J. Cervera
For-Profit
Tuscaloosa, AL
Madelene L. Hollingsworth
For-Profit
Vance, AL
Dennis Stevenson
For-Profit
Vestavia Hills, AL
Tommy Spina
For-Profit
Warrior, AL
William D. Wise
For-Profit
Wedowee, AL
Ben Hand
For-Profit
Augusta, GA
Harry James
For-Profit
Richmond County, GA
Albert Pickett
For-Profit
Augusta, GA
Richard Slaby
For-Profit
Augusta, GA
David Watkins
For-Profit
Augusta, GA
Patricia Booker
For-Profit
Augusta, GA
John Flythe
For-Profit
Augusta, GA
Gayle Hamrick
For-Profit
Douglasville, GA
David Emerson
For-Profit
Pearson, GA
Hilda James
For-Profit
Newton, GA
Angela Hendricks
For-Profit
Fitzgerald, GA
Romelle Green
For-Profit
Macon, GA
William Randall
For-Profit
Macon, GA
William Shurling
For-Profit
Nahunta, GA
Jeff Thomas
For-Profit
LaFayette, GA
Jon Wood
For-Profit
Summerville, GA
Kristina Graham
For-Profit
Ringgold, GA
Ralph Van Pelt
For-Profit
Trenton, GA
Brian House
For-Profit
Cordele, GA
G. Russell Wright
For-Profit
Trenton, GA
Joel McCormick
For-Profit
Trenton, GA
Charles Morgan
For-Profit
Vienna, GA
William Willis
For-Profit

   

 

 

 

 

 


* Human Rights Watch, 2014 - Profiting from Probation. Available: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/02/05/profiting-probation. Last accessed 4 June 2014.