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

Jail the Banksters? Bernanke Now Claims “Wall Street Execs Should’ve Been Held Accountable”

It is not uncommon to hear people in the streets, on blogs or on talk radio arguing that the gangs of Wall Street should have been jailed — or even hung — for their crimes against the American people. But to hear that kind of talk from a former Federal Reserve chairman is surprising… even if it is well after the fact. Though you could be forgiven for assuming most politicians and bankers have no conscience at all, there are apparently many in the halls of power who carry a guilty conscience for their role in selling out the country, and undermining its recovery at every level. Few have more guilt to carry than the functionaries at the Federal Reserve, the quasi-governmental central bank that now looms so large over the economy, and has so much to do with why the financial world is facing devastating failure all over […] Read More