Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Where At Least I Know I'm Free," Part 2

Debtor's prison is making a comeback in the U.S. Cash-strapped jurisdictions are billing for all kinds of "services" (including arrest and prosecution) they used to provide for free, and failure to pay the bill is a crime. ("Mr. Simpson please! Disparaging the boot is a bootable offense!") You can even be billed after you're exonerated.

And what's more, when you get sent to prison for not paying for your exoneration, you can be treated inhumanely, too.

Prison reform doesn't usually get much sympathy, because most people hear about the bad conditions in prison and think, "Serves 'em right!" Or we want bad prisons as a deterrent, so people say, "Prison is too appealing for me to try very hard to avoid it." But I'm reminded of the saying about judging someone's character by seeing how he treats those who can do nothing for him in return. By that criterion, the American character is severely depraved.

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