A memory that sticks in my head is my mom being charged $40 after her card was over-drafted by $2 because her meager paycheck was late.
Even then, in fourth grade, it made very little sense to me. This is a small scratch on the surface of the monstrosity that is corporations profiting off of poor people. I think many people don’t realize how widespread these practices are. There are corporations out there that make money solely off of the poorest members of our society; they’re making the poor poorer and the rich richer.
The documentary, To Prison for Poverty, zeroes in on private probation companies that ceaselessly charge fees and send arrest warrants. More often than not, these companies target the poor and downtrodden, and make massive profits along the way.
Maybe you’re not poor. Statistically speaking, you’re probably reading this on the shiniest new smartphone with a cup of Starbucks nearby. But these companies aren’t just stealing from the poor; they’re stealing from you, too. When these people don’t make their payments on time, they get sent to prison. Keeping people in prison costs roughly $85 a day, while these companies profit. Don’t let them get away with this. Call your legislator and let them know you want to see a change.
Transparency and accountability are important in services to the poor. Hopefully, change to public probation systems spreads throughout the country. I am left wondering how many of these companies are still out there, and how many people are in prison right now because of them.
By Daniil Chupalov