From the May 2009 Idaho Observer:


War on the poor:

The return of debtorsí prisons in the land of the free

By Richard Geffken

Edwina Nowlin was imprisoned by the state of Michigan March 3, 2009, for being unable to pay a juvenile detention center $104 per month for holding her 16-year old son. Sentenced to 30 days, she was permitted to pick up her $178.53 paycheck three days later. She hoped to pay the $104 off with it. Unfortunately, the sheriff ordered her to sign the check over to the county to pay $120 for her own room and board to date plus $22 for a mandatory drug test and booking fee. Nowlin then requested a court-appointed attorney but was refused even though she was penniless and and confined for her inability to pay for the confinement of her son.

Such cases are becoming increasingly common. In Georgia, Ora Lee Hurley was imprisoned for being unable to pay a $705 fine. She was granted work release at a restaurant paying $6.50/hr, or about $700 a month after taxes. The Georgia Dept. of Corrections was charging Hurley $600 a month for "room and board." As a result, Hurley was forced to serve eight months beyond her original 120 day sentence. Though she earned about $7,000 during those 11 months, she could never pay off the original $705 fine.

Essentially, both women were used for slave labor because they were poor.

Charles Dickens helped to end the use of debtor prisons in 17th century England. Imprisonment for debt was abolished in the U.S. shortly thereafter.

Recently, an exception was made for non-payment of child support. The U.S. "democracy" decided it was not interfering in family matters enough already and could use divorce to increase prison populations.

After making the non-payment of child support exception to the debtor imprisonment prohibition, the idea of imprisoning debtors has expanded and is enthusiastically supported by members of society who are able to pay fines within prescribed time limits.

On April 19, 2009, Obama announced that those who obeyed the Bush administrationís perverse and sadistic desire to physically, mentally and sexually torture terror war detainees will not be prosecuted. Obama stated that these people, "...carried out their duties" and were just obeying orders.

Now that Obama has determined that it was okay for the Bush administration to torture Arabic terror war detainees, do not be too surprised if Obama expands the idea to include Republican voters of European ancestry.

The point I am making here is that we must all be treated equally under the law with no exceptions lest the law be unevenly enforced upon those who are unable to defend themselves.