Human Rights Watch research in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama revealed numerous egregious cases that illustrate the abuses related to outsourcing probation supervision as it is practiced today.
- In Augusta, Georgia, a man who pled guilty to shoplifting a US$2 can of beer and fined US$200 was ultimately jailed for failing to pay more than US$1,000 in fees to his probation company. At the time he was destitute, selling his own blood plasma twice a week to raise money.
- In another Georgia town, a company probation officer said she routinely has offenders arrested for non-payment and then bargains with their families for money in exchange for the person’s release.
- In Alabama, the town of Harpersville shut down its entire municipal court after a judge slammed the municipality and its probation company for running what he called a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket.”
- The Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, an impoverished community of 15,000, had more than 1,200 people on probation with the private firm Judicial Corrections Services as of August 2013. Many were guilty only of traffic offenses. The town’s municipal judge told Human Rights Watch that “maybe one or two” of those had warrants out for their arrest. The real figure was close to 300.
Read more: US: For-Profit Probation Tramples Rights of Poor