In the short documentary, To Prison for Poverty, the focus is on private companies profiting off citizens who cannot pay the fees on a minor crimes. Fees are in addition to the crime’s ticket cost.
A while back, I watched a John Oliver segment where he discussed how prisons make profits of off prisoners; it’s a similar concept to private businesses making money off of people on probation. Private companies that profit off of crime typically run on a quota. I came to the realization that this could be one of the reasons that fines are enforced. Before watching this documentary, I thought that fines were enforced as an incentive to follow the rules.
What is frustrating to hear is that there is a chance that they will reinstate probation long after probation is over, especially when the debit is paid. I think that adding additional fees that do not benefit the police station or the state is not an ethical way to enforce law.
What I would like to learn more about is why former sheriffs are interested in making money off of criminals by putting additional fees to their crime, and if they have a motive from their former career. I would also like finding out how these private facilities are able to put fees on those crimes in the first place. I understand that there are companies that sell debt to other companies, which can increase the debt’s interest. I hope that the police departments are not selling their crime ticket transactions to these private companies to profit off of crime. These private companies should not be making money on crimes because it takes money from both citizens and the U.S. economy and it does not contribute to bringing citizens to justice.
By Leah Myers