Sold My Soul To The Company Government Store

Southern justice ftw!

So this sucks. They incarcerate this chick over her own personal drug use, and then they effectively enslave her for fourteen months by making her so poor that she can’t pay the fine they mandated she pay.

Seriously kids, company towns are not a valid expression of prison reform. If you’re going to do something like this (have a private company host halfway-houses and the like) then you need to make the rent and everything low enough that any fines or whatever can be paid off. I thought the whole point of debtor’s prison was to let them pay off their actual debts, not force them to incur new ones.

Stuart Richards

Stuart Richards is a 26-year-old land surveyor based out of Portland, OR. He is a left-leaning geolibertarian and (theologically) liberal Christian, and has been blogging on and other libertarian sites since 2004.

  1. That whole state started out as a debtor’s prison. I’m not surprised they’re still doing things like that.

  2. I’ve never been comfortable with the prominent libertarian notion of “restitution,” i.e. in the financial sense. It puts the rich above the law. For example, if I’m drunk driving and I hit your kid, break his leg… If I’m rich, the medical bills plus pain and suffering might be a few day’s interest accumulation… The same crime committed by a less affulent person would equal debt slavery. I think being rich is great and I want to be ridiculously wealthy myself – but I don’t that wealth should make me or anyone else above the law.. Well, maybe me, but not anyone else.

  3. The original purpose of debtor’s prison was not to repay the debt- it was to enrichen the PRIVATE OWNERS of the gaols.

    That’s right- most prisons in medieval and Renaissance times were privately owned, with the prisoners forced to pay rent for their own incarceration.

  4. I think that most of us prefer a notion of restitution combined with appropriate punishment. The justice system should exist both to punish the guilty and to make victims whole again (to the extent possible). We do an okay job of the former, but adding restitution would satisfy the latter. Personally, I would prefer a system where criminals are not permitted to pay their fines with their accumulated wealth, but rather must pay off fines with wages they earn while in prison. Bill Gates can’t earn money washing dishes in the prison kitchen any faster than Joe Poorguy can, so they’d serve the same time.

  5. I hate to sound like I’m defending (god forbid) “Dead beat” Dads (parents), but that is the same thing they do to them.

    First they asses child and spouse support to such a degree that it puts the fathers in the poor house, then if they can’t make the payments, you know the choice, eat or pay the ex, they get put into prison, where they can’t work and then get fined in addition. It becomes a cycle, when they get out of prison, they are asked to pay up, if they don’t have rich relatives, they go right back to prison.

    The entire system has become a sort of cottage collections industry. And guess what. It doesn’t seem to do a darn thing for the kids.