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Friday, July 18, 2008

Should incarcerated men have to Pay Child Support from Jail?

Here's another idiotic aspect of the child support system--demanding that incarcerated obligors continue to make child support payments even though we know they have no income and no ability to pay. Then, when they're released, they're several thousand dollars behind on child support (with interest on overdue payments added), and are subject to arrest or driven underground.This problem has now been recognized by the Justice Department and Hillary Clinton actually addressed it during her campaign but the issue is that regardless of the fact the man is incarcerated for one crime and literally being punished because he can not pay child support. Usually the above scenario applies to low-income minority men incarcerated as part of the asinine War on Drugs. In the case below, the charges are far more serious--murder. Nonetheless, it is still stupid and unfair to continue the man's child support obligation. If he's convicted, he'll be in jail the rest of his life, so the obligation is irrelevant--it'll never be paid. If he's acquitted, then he'll be behind on child support when he's released, with all the concomitant problems, even though he is legally blameless. So the minute that the man or woman is incarcerated the debt should either be picked up by the state or waived. To expect a man that has been incarcerated for 3 or more years to immediately start paying on a debt that has been accumulating over years is not fair to the man woman or child... Something has to be done with the inmate in mind, or he will always be caught in the system.

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