The Word - Debt or Prison

  • Aired:  06/11/14
  •  | Views: 34,684

States respond to rising prison costs by charging expensive court fees and jailing defendants for unpaid debts. (5:32)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

FOLKS, IF I KNOW MY NATION I DON'T HAVE TO REMIND ANYBODY

AMERICA'S THE GREATEST NATION ONEARTH. WHY? IT'S BECAUSE WE'VE

GOT THE GREATEST BEST PEOPLE ON EARTH.

THERE'S ME, THERE'S YOU, THELIST GOES ON.

BUT WE ALSO HAVE THE GREATESTWORST PEOPLE ON EARTH

BECAUSE AMERICA PUTS MORE OFITS CITIZENS IN PRISON

THAN ANY OTHER NATION. WE ARENUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET

ALSO NUMBER ONE WITH AN OUNCE INYOUR POCKET

BUT CONFINING SO MANY AMERICANSCOMES AT A

TERRIBLE PRICE, WHICH IT TURNS OUT IS MONEY.

THE AVERAGE COST OFINCARCERATING A FEDERAL INMATE

IN 2011 WAS ALMOST $29,000.AND IN NEW YORK CITY THE COST

PER INMATE WAS $168,000. THOUGHA BROKER WILL TELL YOU THAT'S A

PRETTY GOOD DEAL FOR A 6 BY 10STUDIO WITH EAT-IN TOILET.

FORTUNATELY THERE'S A WAY TOSHIV SOME OF THOSE COSTS IN THE

KIDNEYS, AND THAT BRINGS USTO TONIGHT'S WORD.

DEBT OR PRISON?

FOLKS, OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM HAS FOUND SO MANY WAYS TO CUT

CORNERS.

FOR INSTANCE, ELIMINATING NONESSENTIALS.

FOR EXAMPLE, GOVERNORS IN UTAH, IDAHO, TEXAS, INDIANA AND

ARIZONA HAVE REFUSED FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE PRISON RAPE

ELIMINATION ACT. THAT REMINDS MEON AN OLD JOKE.

TWO PRISONERS ARE IN THE SHOWERAND ONE OF THEM DROPS THE SOAP

SO THE OTHER GUY SAYS "WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN IS

FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE TO PREVENT." BUT THE SAVINGS DON'T

STOP AT NOT PREVENTING SEXUALASSAULT. THERE'S ALSO CHEAP

LABOR. THE NEW YORK TIMESREPORTS THAT THE GOVERNMENT

IS RELYING ON TENS OF THOUSANDSOF DETAINED IMMIGRANTS TO WORK

IN DETENTION CENTERS COOKINGMEALS, SCRUBBING SHOWERS AND

BUFFING HALLWAYS, USUALLY FOR ADOLLAR A DAY OR LESS.

SOME ARE EVEN PAID WITH JUST CANDY BARS

I KNOW, THAT SOUNDS BAD BUT THEIR NEXT PAYDAY COULD BE A

HUNDRED GRAND. I MEAN, THINKABOUT IT. IT'S WIN-WIN.

IT'S WIN-WIN.

THEY COME TO OUR COUNTRY TO STEAL OUR JOBS SO WE ARREST THEM

AND FORCE THEM TO DO OUR JOBS.

IT CANNOT BE ENOUGH JUST TO SAVEMONEY.

PRISONS NEED TO TURN A PROFIT AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WE'RE

WELL ON THE WAY AS REPORTED BY ANOTHER CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE

FINANCED BY TAXPAYERS, N.P.R.

AFTER A YEAR-LONG INVESTIGATION,NIPPER HAS FOUND THAT ACROSS THE

COUNTRY DEFENDANTS CAN BE BILLEDFOR A PUBLIC DEFENDER, FOR

THEIR OWN PROBATION, AND PAROLESUPERVISION

FOR THE ELECTRONIC MONITORINGDEVICES THEY'RE ORDERED TO WEAR

AND EVEN CHARGED ROOM AND BOARDFOR PRISON STAYS. AND THE

BEST PART IS, THESE FEES ARE SELF-SUSTAINING INVESTMENTS.

>> ON A TYPICAL DAY, ABOUT 25%OF THOSE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTY

JAIL ARE THERE NOT FORTHEIR MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES

BUT BECAUSE THEY FAILED TO PAYTHE COURT COSTS AND FEES

>> Stephen: IT'S A GREAT SYSTEM.IF THE DEFENDANT CANT PAY THE

FEE, THEY'LL GO TO JAIL WHERETHEY'LL RACK UP MORE FOOD

AND BOARDING FEES THAT THEYCAN'T PAY AND BE PENALIZED WITH

MORE JAIL TIME, THUS INCREASINGTHEIR DEBT WHICH GIVES THEM

LONGER PRISON SENTENCES.

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY, DON'T DOTHE CRIME IF YOU CAN'T DO THE

TIME OR IF YOU DON'T HAVE A DIME

WHICH IS A CRIME RESULTING INMORE TIME.

AND THESE FEES ARE RESULTING INSERIOUS SENTENCES FOR THE POOR.

A JUDGE IN GEORGIA RECENTLYSENTENCED A MAN TO 12 MONTHS

IN JAIL FOR FAILING TO PAY HISCOURT FEES. THAT SOUNDS HARSH

BUT THIS GUY TERRORIZED THECOMMUNITY

BY STEALING A CAN OF BEER WORTH LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS.

HEY, IF THIS GUY WANTED TOSTAY OUT OF JAIL HE SHOULD HAVE

STUCK TO PETTY CRIME.

FOLKS, I BELIEVE THIS IS A GREATSTART. IT'S A BABY STEP. BUT

WE'RE MISSING OUT ON ALL KINDS OF OTHER CHARGE-PORTUNITIES.

FOR INSTANCE, WHAT ABOUT WOMEN'SPRISON.

THEY SHOULD INCLUDE AN ENTERTAINMENT FEE BECAUSE

AFTER ALL, THEY'RE WATCHING ALIVE PRESENTATION OF

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.

AND DEATH ROW INMATES.

DEATH ROW INMATES ALWAYS REQUESTLAST MEALS BUT WHY SHOULD THEY

BE ALLOWED TO SKIP OUT ON THE CHECK.

AND IF CRIMINALS THINK GETTING TASED STINGS, WAIT UNTIL THEY

GET THE ELECTRICITY BILL.

NOW, SOME MAY SAY THAT JAILING PEOPLE OVER THEIR DEBT MAKES

POVERTY INTO A CRIME. IF THAT'STRUE MAYBE WE SHOULD CUT OUT

THE MIDDLE MAN AND PUT ALL POORPEOPLE IN JAIL.

OF COURSE, THIS WILL REQUIRE NEWPRISON FACILITIES WHICH WE CAN

BUILD USING PEOPLE WHO CAN'T PAYTHEIR PRISON FEES.

NOT AS WORKERS, AS THE BRICKS.

I SAY WE JUST STACK THEM UP IN ACUBE AND LEAVE AN OPENING TO

CRAM MORE IN AND LOCK UP AND THROW AWAY WHICHEVER PRISONER IS

THE KEY BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO COVER THE RISING COST OF

PRISON BECAUSE FOR SOME REASON NO MATTER HOW MANY POOR PEOPLE

WE THROW IN JAIL IT KEEPS GETTING OVERCROWDED.

AND THAT'S THE WORD.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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