I was amazed that a guy from DIMH, “Mr. V.”, on probation, was locked up again for failure to pay child support about ten days ago! Yes, we still are locking up homeless people for failing to pay child support! It’s nuts… and totally counterproductive … but it happens regularly.
Why am I amazed? Because I have explained to residents many, many times, and to the counselors, case managers and others, in writing, that anyone on probation must watch out for that…
If YOU owe any amount of money Ordered by a Court, for any purpose, if you want to avoid prison you MUST (A) make regular payments every month … as much as you can … and explain to the court with a letter (ALWAYS date it and keep a copy! – READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-put-writing/ – Always do this! ) why you cannot pay more, and tell them that you will notify the Court when your financial situation changes … and stay on top of it?!
Or (B) if you cannot pay any amount at all, explain why that is so, and, again, tell them that you will notify the Court when your financial situation changes … and stay on top of it!
If YOU are a case worker or otherwise charged with helping anyone who owes such payments, YOU should have a checklist of things to remind them about monthly, and this should be at the top of the list!
I do not yet know any of the details concerning Mr. V; I just know that he was locked up and is in prison again for that reason.