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Former Inmate Can’t Afford Food Because of $21,000 in Fines

by / June 6, 2014 Black News 16 Comments

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If you ever wonder why ex-cons have such a hard time integrating back into society, maybe Ardell Shaw’s story will help you understand the obstacles put in place by the state to make itArdell_Shaw.jpg almost impossible for them to rebuilt their lives.

In a discussion with HuffPost Live on Wednesday,  Shaw revealed that his arrest on drug charges in Washington state not only sent him to prison for 14 years, but also impoverished him.

Shaw explained that he was fined $600 for each of his three drug charges, amounting to a total fine of $1,800. The judge told Shaw that he didn’t have to pay the fees until after he was released from jail. Little did Shaw know, his fine was collecting interest while he was still behind bars and unable to pay. By the time Shaw was released he owed $21,000, making it hard for him to piece his life back together.

“When I go to apply for a job, when I go to try to get a vehicle, or when I try to do anything where I need to run credit, they see I owe $21,000, and that makes it hard,” he explained. He says he’s always forced with choosing between whether to make the required payment on his legal obligation or to buy food and gas.

And it’s not just felons who are being locked up and charged outrageous fees. In 2012, the New York Times reported that a judge in Alabama temporarily halted a system whereby private probation companies were basically robbing citizens. People were being fined for things like traffic viοlations and when they couldn’t pay, they were often jailed as additional feels piled up.

 

 

 

 

 

yvette

16 Comment

  1. Too bad he didn’t consider the whole picture before he committed the crimes. There are lots of people in dire situations because of foolish mistakes who had the strength and humbled themselves to take the lowest of honest jobs in order to build themselves back up and it did take time. One of the first things they had to do is not blame everyone else and take responsibility for their own lives. It can be done.

    • My brother, can you say bankruptcy? That will wipe that debt out, and as soon as your bankruptcy goes through, you will get a credit card from Sam Jackson because that company know that you cannot file again for 10 years. I went bankrupt and wiped out 200k in debt, kept my home and car and everything else really since I had never accumulated anything except a bunch of books, and who wants some books, nobody. Jobs? Don’t mention your past – regardless of any questions – you are too traumatized to go there. Deal with it; don’t be intimidate by a basically stupid system that can be easily gamed. The “Wolf of Wall Street” bilked people out of millions, and now, after doing his jail time, travels the world telling folks how he did it.

  2. Careful Sonia you know you cant use the R- word (responsibility )around here, they will jump all over you for suggesting we take responsibility for our actions.

    The reason he is having trouble getting jobs etc. is not because he is $21,000 in debt, it is because of his criminal history.

  3. My brother, can you say bankruptcy? That will wipe that debt out, and as soon as your bankruptcy goes through, you will get a credit card from Sam Jackson because that company know that you cannot file again for 10 years. I went bankrupt and wiped out 200k in debt, kept my home and car and everything else really since I had never accumulated anything except a bunch of books, and who wants some books, nobody. Jobs? Don't mention your past – regardless of any questions – you are too traumatized to go there. Deal with it; don't be intimidated by a basically stupid system that can be easily gamed. The "Wolf of Wall Street" bilked people out of millions, and now, after doing his jail time, travels the world telling folks how he did it.

  4. That's like the Surcharge we have in Texas on traffic violations!! Even after you pay the fine for the ticket you are still charged outrageous fees for so called surcharges!!

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