TOS 04: Debtors' Prison: A Thing of the Past? Think Again.
In addition to working with small business owners, I also practice criminal defense. They are two completely different worlds, but I'm a complex person.
Anyways, as a defense attorney, I have the privilege of fighting for poor people. And sometimes, it is heart breaking. I recently had the opportunity to serve in something called "Jail Docket." Jail docket is where people who have not yet bonded out meet with an attorney to see if they can work out their case quickly. Often times, the only reason why someone has yet to bond out is because of their lack of resources. This system is characterized as a money bail system. We allow people to pay for their release with no care as to whether the state has any actual evidence against them.
Now, this sounds all good and dandy, but the problem with this system is that if an individual is actually innocent and simply needs the time and resources to fight their case, they will only be given that time if they stay locked up. Their inability to pay will keep them behind bars.
As alternatives to these sorry situations, prosecutors offer the accused, plea "bargains." However, that term is ironic by itself because the accused rarely gets a bargain. What one usually obtains is a conviction on his or her record with serious collateral effects.
You may ask yourself, why any innocent person would take such a deal. Well, in my experience, I find that someone who has been locked for a cage for weeks, without the ability to see his or her own family, and with no way of ensuring, their house, job, wife, husband, or kids are safe, may see a quick fix as a reasonable alternative.
The system sucks.
"Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy."