Target: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Goal: Criminalize the privatization of probation management for profit
Many state governments sell prison contracts to private companies, and these companies make more money by having more prisoners, intrinsically causing a vested interest in sending more people to prison. This has already led to a corporate prison lobby, which bargains with the state for harsher sentencing laws for all kinds of crimes, simply to put more people behind bars for profit. Not only do these states sell off their citizens to prison companies, but they do so for probationers as well, which causes similar, and equally egregious, problems as the private prison contracts.
Private probation companies receive contracts from state governments to manage the probation of convicted offenders, and they promise to do so at no cost to the state. Instead, these companies derive all of their revenue from charging the probationers for their own probation. In many cases, those who cannot afford to pay both the state for criminal penalties and the probation companies for probation costs are forced into prison. This is actually illegal, because the 14th amendment protects those who cannot afford to pay their criminal fines from wrongful imprisonment, according to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).
The remorselessly predatory nature of these private prison and probation companies should be plain for all to see. People who are convicted of the most minor of crimes can end up in serious debt and eventually imprisoned, against their constitutional rights, only because they cannot afford to defend themselves. There is no more twisted and perverse abuse of government than this. Sign the petition to demand an end to privatized probation.
Dear Mr. Holder,
The openly predatory nature of private prison companies and their contracts with state governments has gone yet another step further. States are now contracting private companies to oversee probation as well, and these companies derive their revenue from charging the probationers. This means that on top of criminal penalties, probationers now pay several times more to private companies to manage their own probation. This has led to what some are calling a modern version of debtors’ prison.
This kind of injustice cannot go on in a democracy. Our most destitute citizens are being gouged and extorted at every turn, for no other reason than that they cannot afford to defend themselves. You absolutely must take steps to fight against the privatization of prisons and probation, or else we cannot honestly say that this nation is part of the free world. Please do everything in your power to end this grave injustice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Natasha Mayers via Flickr