Monday, September 12, 2011

What's Worse Than Being Poor? Jail.

More news that you should abhor:
Now they can lock up the poor?
Lost your job? Too bad.
So sorry, so sad.
Just casualties of the class war.

If you just can't find a way
to support, you'll really pay
Are these laws at all
Or is it more we versus they.

I wish that these judges could see
how they're causing misery.
But that's the mistake
you get when you take
the civil from civility.

Judges can order parents to serve time in jail for non-payment of child support. They can order jail time without regard to the parent's ability to pay. If a parent has been paying dutifully for years, loses a job, then cannot keep up payments, a judge can order that parent to serve a sentence. Without a trial, and even without legal representation.

This is an issue that hits home for me. My parents divorced when I was 8. As far as I know, my mother received little to no support from my father, even though he was ordered to pay. That made things more difficult for us growing up, but we survived. I don't know his situation and, frankly, I don't care. I do know that it would have made any payments impossible had he been jailed for it.

If these parents have recently become unemployed because of the shitty economy, how likely is it that they will find job searching easier after serving jail time? Even if they are the more qualified candidate, employers will hire someone who has not served in jail over them.

Child support is an extremely complex issue, and there are no simple answers. Putting a parent in jail for inability to pay should never be an answer, though.

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