Sunday, August 28, 2016

Everything Wrong With How Our Justice System Treats Poor People, In One Awful Case

Ian Millhiser

Maria Rivera’s young son spent over a year in Orange County, California’s juvenile detention facilities. When he was released, the county sent a $16,372 bill to Rivera, claiming she needed to pay for the food her son ate, the clothing he wore, and the medicine he took while he was incarcerated.

The debt imposed a considerable hardship on Rivera. She sold her home to cover the debt, although this sale only allowed her to pay off about $9,500. Moreover, the county appears to have charged her significant interest on the unpaid portion of the debt. It eventually obtained a court order requiring her to pay nearly $10,000 more in addition to the funds she raised through the sale of her home.

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