Saturday, February 10, 2018

Criminalising the poor

The Legal Aid Justice Center found that, as of December 2017, nearly 1 million Virginians (974,349) had their licenses suspended at least in part due to court debt, and nearly two-thirds of those (638,003) were suspended solely for that reason. That translates into about 1 in 6 drivers in the commonwealth. Payment plans were found to be ineffective, because the underlying issue is not drivers’ willingness to pay fines but the fact that they simply don’t have the money.  43 states and the District of Columbia suspend driver’s licenses because of unpaid debt.

What results is a vicious cycle. You can’t afford to pay an initial court fine for a parking ticket or a shoplifting charge, so you lose your license. That means you can’t drive to work or hold a job that requires a license — which makes you even less able to pay your court debt. If you drive without a license, you may get into more serious trouble. Meanwhile, you can’t drive your children to school or to their medical appointments.

In some cities, outstanding government debt not only means revocation of a driver’s license but also can make it impossible to obtain occupational licenses for jobs such as cutting hair or driving a cab. So because someone owes the city money, the city has made it impossible for that person to earn the money to pay the city back.

1 comment:

Quirky Wanda said...

Of Course its stating the 'bloody obvious' to those who have any sense of fair reasoning or sense of how not to extend existing problems, that the stat of Poverty frequently gives no choice but to commit criminal offences or crimes.

Just a glimpse back at history makes us shudder, regarding the compulsory crimes commited by people to keep alive or functoning e.g. stealing bread and then being severely punished for it by imposing terrible incarceration. (Today is not altogether that far from the status quo then)

By making someone criminal who has commited one of these neccessary or compulsory crimes and imposing severe penalties - such as the many Virginians with their licenses revoked for minor offences etc., not only affects them economically, practically and socially but then further mentally, and then extends to lowering your own self belief and pride - hence creating an unhealthy societal group who are imploded by the Superior and ignorant authorities systems of dealing with it all.

Judge Judy will probably be rubbing her hands with the exciting opportunities she can have to be as unreasonable as ever in blaming the poor for being in (forced) poorness.