Debtors’ Prison Even for Kids: Did You Know Poor Children Are Incarcerated When Families Can’t Pay Juvenile Court Fees?

Many states are incarcerating poor children whose families can’t afford to pay juvenile court fees and fines, a report published Wednesday finds, which amounts to punishing children for their families’ poverty—and that may be unconstitutional. Although the growing practice of incarcerating adults who are unable to pay municipal and court fees and fines has been documented for several years, as Common Dreams has noted, the latest report from the Juvenile Law Center is the first in-depth examination of the practice within the juvenile justice system. The report, “Debtor’s Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System” (pdf), documents the results of a survey of 183 people involved in the juvenile justice system—including lawyers, family members, and adults who had been incarcerated as children in the juvenile justice system—in 41 states. The report authors discovered that in most states there is a pile-up of […] Read More

Homeless Man Owes Government Over $110,000 In Fines For Being Homeless

The recent case of a homeless man racking up massive fines has exposed the widespread police practice of fining homeless people for being homeless. Émilie Guimond-Bélanger, a social worker at the Droits Devant legal clinic in Montreal spoke to the media about a case that she worked on where a homeless man racked up over $110,000 in tickets. “It was shocking. We’ve never seen someone with so many tickets,” Émilie told CBC. The man had over 500 tickets, which amounted to over $110,000 in fines. The fines were mostly for things that homeless people can’t control, such as sleeping in the subway or asking people for money. “He had received around 500 of them [tickets]. I could see that most of the time he would receive many in the same week, sometimes by the same officers as well,” she said. “It’s very common, to a point where I would […] Read More

The Number of Americans Living on Less Than $2 a Day Is Skyrocketing

Research shows 1.5 million households and 3 million children are living in desperate economic conditions. The World Bank and other global institutions use a very specific measure to record global poverty rates. They gather data designed to record the number of people in a country who live on less than $2 a day, and then use the information to make a “poverty headcount ratio”— the percentage of people in a country who live under this standard. In most recent data, Sierra Leone, for example, had a staggering 82.5% of its citizens living in poverty by this count. What is less known is that millions of Americans are living in situations of similar poverty. A new book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, explores the status of Americans who face this extreme level of poverty “Most of us would say we would have trouble understanding how families in a […] Read More

Number Of “Ultrapoor” Americans Has Doubled Since 1996

If you’ve been paying attention to the economy for the past seven years or so, you’ve probably been wondering when the whole charade is going to come crashing down. When will all of those inflated markets and debts reach their apex, and start crumbling under the weight of economic reality, and leave us all destitute? There have been plenty of predictions, but none have truly come to fruition. Well the truth of the matter is that there may not be a single day when everything grinds to a halt, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that our standard of living is crumbling in slow motion. For many Americans the end has already arrived, and their ranks are growing a little more every day. In fact, the number of Americans that are earning what amounts to a third world wage, has doubled over the past 20 years. The number […] Read More

1 in 5 US children live below poverty line, more than during Great Recession

Around 22 percent of American children lived below the federal poverty line in 2013, up from 18 percent in 2008, according to a new report. Black, Hispanic, and American Indian children were twice as likely to live in poverty as whites. The 2015 Kids Count Data Book ‒ released Tuesday by the non-profit group Annie E. Casey Foundation ‒ was compiled using federal government data collected from 2008 to 2013 to determine state-based trends pertaining to 16 factors related to quality of life for young children. Those factors include health, family life, community, and education. The 16.1 million children living in poverty in 2013 counts for nearly 3 million more than those living in poverty in 2008, the beginning of the Great Recession. More than two million more children live in areas of concentrated poverty compared to 2006 to 2010, the report found. The federal poverty line in 2013 […] Read More

It’s now illegal to be homeless, at least in Columbia, South Carolina.

It’s now illegal to be homeless, at least in Columbia, South Carolina.  Homeless people are set to be shipped off to a camp on the outskirts of town – but the kicker is that the shelter only has 250 beds, which are available on a first come, first serve basis.  Once you’re in the camp, there’s no way of leaving, and there’s no room for the other thousand homeless residents left in the city.  Sound too crazy to be true?  Just watch the video. Related articles Life In Prison For $20 of Weed 1952: October – November Sightings

10 Cities Where an Appalling Number of Americans Don’t Have Enough Food

It’ll get worse if the Republicans continue their attacks on anti-hunger programs. Hunger is a concept that is often connected with poor developing countries, but it has also become increasingly common in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 49.1 million households experienced food insecurity at some point in 2013. On December 11, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released its 32nd Annual Report on Hunger and Homelessness. The report covered 25 American cities: 71% said the number of requests for emergency food assistance had increased in the last year, while only 25% said that requests for emergency food assistance had decreased. And 84% of the cities surveyed expected emergency food requests to increase in 2015, but many food banks may not have the resources to meet those requests. Helene Schneider, mayor of Santa Barbara and co-chair of the Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness, warned in the report […] Read More

14 Facts That Show The Number Of Children Living In Poverty This Christmas Is At A Record High

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog, Did you know that 65 percent of all children in the United States live in a home that receives aid from the federal government?  We live at a time when child poverty in America is exploding.  Yes, the U.S. economy is experiencing a temporary bubble of false stability for the moment, but even during this period of false stability the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to rapidly expand and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.  And sadly, this is having a disproportionate impact on children.  This is happening for a couple of reasons.  First of all, poorer households tend to have more children than wealthier households.  Secondly, most people tend to have children when they are in their young adult years, and right now young adults are being absolutely hammered by this economy.  As a result, […] Read More

The Shackles Return: Why Debtors’ Prisons Are Making An American Comeback

Devon Douglas-Bowers Activist Post The debtors’ prison is an old, decrepit institution that many thought was abolished in the 19th century, something little more than a relic of the past. This is a problematic view for two reasons. One, debtors’ prisons are rarely explored in the classroom or the larger society. And two, these prisons are making a serious comeback in the United States, which is deeply problematic for the poor and working class. The History of Debtors’ Prisons The traditional view of debtors’ prisons in the U.S. is one of wretched incarceration where debtors were hung out to dry. While this is true, there is also more to the story. In early colonial America, English law had an influence on colonial law – and laws regarding debt. In 16th century England, creditors had the legal power via the Law of Merchant to regain their money from insolvent debtors. […] Read More

Over 100,000 Homeless People Have Been Moved Into Homes & It Isn’t Stopping There! One Of The Most Profound Movements Ever!

Whether you live in a major metropolis or a small town, chances are you’ve seen homeless people sleeping or wandering the streets at some point. On those cold and ruthless winter nights I can’t help but feel compassion and misery for anyone who doesn’t have warm food, clothing, or a bed to help ease the sub-zero temperatures. In Canada alone it is estimated that at least 200,000 experience homelessness in a year. This number is substantiated by an even larger number of homeless people in the United States, coming in at an unsettling 1.7 million. One can’t help but ask ourselves the daunting question, “what can I do to help?” A Backwards Solution Enter 100k Homes. Sparked by the belief that conventional homelessness interventions were not working efficiently enough, 100k Homes is bringing a backwards-considered approach to solving the homelessness crisis. For years, homeless service providers worked to offer medical […] Read More

“Feeding The Homeless” Is A Crime In Increasingly More US Cities

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog, Have you ever given food to a homeless person?  Well, if you do it again in the future it might be a criminal act depending on where you live.  Right now, there are dozens of major U.S. cities that have already passed laws against feeding the homeless.  As you will read about below, in some areas of the country you can actually be fined hundreds of dollars for just trying to give food to a hungry person.  I know that sounds absolutely insane, but this is what America is turning into.  Communities all over the country are attempting to “clean up the streets” by making it virtually illegal to either be homeless or to help those that are homeless.  Instead of spending more money on programs to assist the homeless, local governments are bulldozing tent cities and giving homeless people […] Read More

Cities All Over America Are Becoming Extremely Cruel To The Homeless

Have you ever given food to a homeless person?  Well, if you do it again in the future it might be a criminal act depending on where you live.  Right now, there are dozens of major U.S. cities that have already passed laws against feeding the homeless.  As you will read about below, in some areas of the country you can actually be fined hundreds of dollars for just trying to give food to a hungry person.  I know that sounds absolutely insane, but this is what America is turning into.  Communities all over the country are attempting to “clean up the streets” by making it virtually illegal to either be homeless or to help those that are homeless.  Instead of spending more money on programs to assist the homeless, local governments are bulldozing tent cities and giving homeless people one way bus tickets out of town.  We are […] Read More