In Florida 88% of suspensions were due to failure to comply with summons or fines.
Now here is things get extremely problematic and nonsensical – Most people drive to work so losing your car affects everything in your life. In New Jersey a Survey was done that found that 63% of low income drives that lost their car also lost their jobs.
How are they supposed to pay their fine if you take away their means of paying it?
It gets worse:
There are private probation companies that supervise people that have minor offenses and collect their outstanding fines at no costs to the courts, instead they get their money from the probationers in exchange for their services.
Here is an example of how that works based on an actual event:
One Woman was fined $25 for not wearing a seat belt as well as $16 for the court costs – a total fine of $41. She was unable to pay the fine at that stage and thus was handed over to one of these private probation Companies. Now here is where things get really messed up:
She was then put on a monthly payment plan in order to pay the fine, but the costs of this payment plan was $35 per month. All moneys that the woman sent in was applied to the service fees first before going to the actual fine, meaning she first has to pay the $35 before she is able to pay the actual $41 fine. Now, she I not able to afford that $35 monthly fee, so this is starting to accumulate – eventually she sat with a $299 bill PLUS the $41 fine. Eventually if you cannot afford the bill you can be sent to jail because you cannot afford the bill.
Here is another terrifying example of this Ruined Hariet Cleveland’s Life:
“Cleveland’s $140 monthly payment – $40 of which went to fees – was a terrifying burden. She lost her day care job during the recession and was barely scraping by. She paid what she could, even when it meant her money was only going toward the company’s fees.
Finally, Cleveland didn’t have any more money to give. She received a notice in the mail: Pay $2,714 or go to jail. Not long after, a police officer arrived and arrested her while she was babysitting her grandson. A judge sentenced her to 31 days in jail because she was too poor to pay.” – https://www.splcenter.org/news/2014/08/26/splc-lawsuit-closes-debtors%E2%80%99-prison-alabama-capital
These Companies are making money out of people who have none. Why are we punishing people for being poor? This is an Impossible situation for low income people where they really have no way out. This kind of exploitation is something that must be stopped.
This is something that we can change with a better system, one that considers the individual needs of people in different situations. Not only would these people above live far better lives with the Living Income Guaranteed, but we can implement solutions to stops the obvious exploitation of people in these situations so that no person’s life get ruined just because they are poor.
Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal