Recently I had to go to court because of some peeling paint on one of our properties that hadn't been addressed (we never got the original notice before the summons, but that's another matter). At court, the judge talked about having me put in jail or put on probation for this heinous crime of peeling paint. While it probably won't happen, just the idea of throwing someone in prison for peeling paint beggars belief and makes one wonder exactly how free our country actually is. This is especially true when noting that we own hundreds of properties throughout town and the vast majority of ours are better than our neighbors, who presumably, are mostly not in prison.
Furthermore, the only reason I am "facing prison" and not my brother is because despite being partners in our company, my name starts with an A and his starts with a P.
Land of the free everyone!
The worst example of this type of judicial tyranny is the child support system, though. If you don't have enough money to pay your child support, well, off to prison you go. As I noted in an article for Mises a while back,
In South Carolina, where Walter Scott was killed for running away from a cop trying to arrest him for being behind on his child support, a full one-eighth of the inmates were jailed over child support arrearages. Many of these child support judgments are simply absurd. As The New York Times reported that, “A 2007 Urban Institute study of child support debt in nine large states found that 70 percent of the arrears were owed by people who reported less than $10,000 a year in income. They were expected to pay, on average, 83 percent of their income in child support.” Some cases are even more of a farce. One man was ordered to pay $30,000 in child support for a child who wasn’t his and a 15 year old boy was ordered to pay child support to the 34 year old woman who statutorily raped him.
Oh, but they're not being incarcerated for being in arrears on a debt, it's for "civil contempt" or some other stupid euphemism. Here are a few samples of these farces taking place.
Weird how there is virtually no effort in the media to fix what is obliviously a major contributor to over-incarceration in the United States.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
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