Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bad British Custom Still Exists In America

You may have thought that debtors’ prisons were a thing of the past in America, but unfortunately that is not the case. Debtors’ prisons were common in England in the colonial period. We kicked out British rule by the American Revolution and abolished many of its trappings, such as royalty and royal titles, primogeniture, and bowing to our top national official. We thought we abolished debtor’s prisons even before we abolished slavery, but they continue to exist today to punish men who are too poor to pay what is falsely labeled “child support.”

I say “falsely” because the money collected from the poor guy usually does not go to his kid or even to his mother. It just supports the welfare-state bureaucracy. These guys do not have the money to hire a defense lawyer, which they should be given when jail is the cost of losing the case. When corporations are unable to pay their debts, they can take bankruptcy. But a man can never get an alleged “child support” debt forgiven or reduced, even if he is out of a job, penniless, homeless, medically incapacitated, incarcerated, can’t afford a lawyer, serving in our Armed Forces overseas, is not the father, or never owed the money in the first place. The whole idea that a poor man is expected to support two households, including one with a child he never sees, is contrary to common sense and to all human experience. In many cases, DNA investigations revealed that the poor guy is not the father of the kid in the first place.

Professor Ann Cammett, an expert on incarcerated parents who owe child support, says, “We have zero evidence that it works. If the goal of the child support system is to get support for children, parents can’t do that if they’re incarcerated.” I agree, and think that America needs to change our current child support laws so that we can abolish debtors’ prisons once and for all.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Or, the government suspends your drivers license so that you cannot get to work to pay your child support. They will in some cases give you a restricted license which allows travel during work-hours, but no time is given for running other necessary errands, like picking up groceries.

Just try to get your case closed if the children you are paying support for are living with you and have been living with you. You will have to threaten lawsuit to get anywhere with your so-called "Child Support Officer."

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