Prison for Being Poor

If you are a visitor from, welcome! You may have seen this specific article before, but it was so important I felt it needed a wider audience.

Bart listed this as a debtor’s prison story. But knowingly slapping a fee on a homeless woman who can’t pay for what her son did doesn’t qualify as “debt,” in my opinion. It qualifies as an attempt to further feed people as fodder to the very profitable prison industry.

We have serious crimes and dangerous criminals, as many countries do. This is what we should be doing with our justice system?

So if you have read the following story, click to “see more,” then scroll down to find another excerpt and link to a story about profit from prisons.

“In December 2008, Ms. Nowlins 16-year-old son was sentenced to the Bay Pines Center and Ms. Nowlin was ordered to pay $104 per month for his lodging. At the time of this order, Ms. Nowlin was homeless and working part-time with a friend after being laid off from her job.”

“She told the court that she was unable to pay the ordered amount, however the judge found her in contempt for failing to pay. In addition, Ms. Nowlins requests for a court appointed attorney were denied. Since March 3, 2009, Ms. Nowlin has been serving her sentence at the Delta County Jail. On March 6, 2009, she was released for one day to work. Once released she picked up her $178.53 check from work thinking that she now could pay the $104.00 to get out of jail. However, upon her return to jail that evening, the sheriff forced her to sign over her check to the jail to cover $120.00 for ‘room and board.’ She was also charged $22 for a drug test and the booking fee.”


You may note, the much hated ACLU came to her rescue. I don’t always agree with them, but I would never pray for them to go away. And Rush Limbaugh probably wouldn’t either, since they stood up for his rights too.

Now the profits from prisons story…

“Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.”


Then we have the private prisons for profit issue: the state providing business profits with our tax dollars. We have always done this to some extent, but just how deep, vile and fascistic is this rabbit hole?