The other day I got assigned our segment about the return of debtors prisons in America. It’s a shocking story when you first hear about it, and no less shocking the more you learn (pdf). In essence, as the New York Times reported, local courts are under pressure to generate revenue so they can fund themselves. In several states, courts do this by contracting with private, for-profit probation companies. The companies then attach fees for their work, which they bill to the defendants. If the defendants can’t pay, they end owing penalties and sometimes get thrown into jail.
The Times writes about one private probation company, Judicial Correction Services, Inc. The company is based in Georgia, with offices there and in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.
In addition to running defendants through the process, Judicial Correction Services likes to have fun being Judicial Correction Services. It looks like they at least started a video podcast for probation officers around the region. They call it “The Verdict.” And now you know. Directly below, the December episode and its animated penguins (and Peter Buck).
(At about 3:45 in this episode, you see an actual JCS office, sans penguins, screengrabbed below.)