“With Liberty and Justice for All”

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 4th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Crime

“With Liberty and justice for all.” Those are mighty powerful words, filled with deep meaning, filled with great promise. They promise that all men, created equal in God's sight, would receive equal justice in man's sight. Was that ever true? It certainly does not appear to be true today.

A Brief History of The Pledge of Allegiance

The original Pledge of Allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy, a Christian Socialist Baptist minister, in 1892 read, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” the Pledge remains the same today except that In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, under the 'leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my Flag,' to 'the Flag of the United States of America.' Then in1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer. The pledge that we recite today reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

The 5th Amendment reads: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Permit me to draw your attention to the words “ nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” I draw your attention to those words because they do not seem to apply to the people of Alabama today. The violator of the constitution is none other than the Judicial Correctional Services based in Georgia. Today there are 36 such companies operating in Georgia.

Corrections for profit.

It is all about the mushrooming of fines and fees levied by money-starved towns across the country and the for-profit businesses that administer the system. Companies like the Judicial Correctional Services are nothing more than bill collectors, but they are bill collector with a twist they have the power to put people in jail if they do not pay their fines and fees for the company's services without having their day in court, even though the Supreme Court has made clear that it is unconstitutional to jail people just because they cannot pay a fine.

Cases in point.

Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked.
When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.

For that driving offense, Ms. Ray has been locked up three times for a total of 40 days and owes $3,170, much of it to the probation company. Her story is no unique.
Richard Garrett has spent a total of 24 months in jail and owes $10,000, all for traffic and license violations that began a decade ago. A onetime employee of United States Steel, Mr. Garrett is suffering from health difficulties and is without work. William M. Dawson, a Birmingham lawyer and Democratic Party activist, has filed a lawsuit for Mr. Garrett and others against the local authorities and the probation company, Judicial Correction Services.

A few more examples are Randy Miller, 39, an Iraq war veteran who had lost his job, was jailed after failing to make child support payments of $860 a month. In another case, Hills McGee, with a monthly income of $243 in veterans benefits, was charged with public drunkenness, assessed $270 by a court and put on probation through a private company. The company added a $15 enrollment fee and $39 in monthly fees. That put his total for a year above $700, which Mr. McGee, 53, struggled to meet before being jailed for failing to pay it all.

Liberty and Justice for all.

Well maybe unless you are poor, living in the deep south, and unable to pay your traffic fines. These companies sound an awful lot like the debtors prisons of early Europe to me.

Tags

Crime, Crime And Justice, Crime Punishment, Crimes, Crimes And Abuses, Fines, Injustice, Jail, Justice, Liberty, Poor, Poor Among The Poorest, Poor People, Probation

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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Comments

author avatar johnnydod
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Now all your budding wikinut writers take note, this is the way to write a page, full of meaning and power, well written to be almost an manuscriptum observation.
in other words I liked this Jerry lol

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you, Johnny, for the great compliment.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
4th Jul 2012 (#)

very good Jerry...

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you CN.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Jul 2012 (#)

I echo Johnny's words. This is a powerful page with a lot of thought put into it. The story of Gina Ray is a sad indictment of modern society. Indeed this is very much like the debtor prisons of the 19th century. I heard of them from my grand-parents who had been told of them by their grand parents, but they are so aptly described by Dickens.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Dickens has always been one of my favorite authors, Peter. Thanks for reading and commenting, Peter.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Incarcerating people is big business these days, with companies like Judicial Correctional Services and Corrections Corporation of America now running the show. The prison industrial complex always needs an increasing number of prisoners to grow its bottom line. One of these days they'll find a way to have us all in jail. Great post Jerry.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you Steve for reading and commenting....More to come.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
4th Jul 2012 (#)

Jerry I will go one better, and place it on all the above social webpages. You know, it's called share this page.Thank you

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Jul 2012 (#)

No, it is I who thank you, Tranquilpen. More to come.

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author avatar Denise O
5th Jul 2012 (#)

Jerry, if I started on the subject of ours the judicial system (Alabama) and mind you in all of America, I could really go on with it but, I will spare you from that. I will tell you one thing though...
When our daughter was 17 she was stopped and given a ticket for no seat belt. One thing she knew was a big no-no from me but any how... A cop came to the door one night looking for her, she was not there and he informed us that, he was there to arrest our daughter for not appearing in court or paying this fine. After a few the cop just said for us to bring her in to pay the fine the next day (plus penalty) and it would be fine. When Dan had taken Krys down to the station, they actually handcuffed the girl, they said they had to arrest her but, the handcuffs were only on for a few minutes. The (then) 10 buck ticket cost around 150.00. I am now working on (yes I do more than this and play with the dogs LOL) a case for a mentally challenged man that is now serving 26 years after he (UGH!) represented himself in a kangaroo court. I am just waiting on a bit of paper work and I think I have his out. So I hear ya. Nice read, great points. I hope you had a wonderful 4th, we did. As always, thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
6th Jul 2012 (#)

Denise, I'm really too exhausted to think straight right now but keep me posted on that mentally challenged man's case because I may be able to turn you on to some people who may be able to help. I have had two really exhausting weeks having spent part of each day up in the Waldo Canyon fire areas searching for and rescuing lost or missing companion animals, I had my house and yard full of the until today when I managed to reunite most of them with their pet parents. On top of all that I have had to keep up with my writing, my Toastmasters Club duties, and then today, I started teaching public speaking to a group of teens and tweens at one of the library branches.Anyway, as soon as I finish answer my messages and emails, I'm going to jump in the shower, throw a 32 ounce steak on the grill, along with a few big baking potatoes, and then chow down like the hungry jack that I am. After that I'm going to watch a few reruns of "Walker: Texas Ranger" and then call it an early night.

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author avatar Denise O
6th Jul 2012 (#)

Bless your heart, I am exhausted just reading your message but, I am glad you have a lot going on, you needed this and I am happy you are getting it. Well not the fires, you know what I mean. As far as the case, I would sure like to speak to you, as I do need some help. I too am exhausted but my exhaustion is nothing compared to yours, just a two year old toddler that has been getting a lot of Gammy's time this summer. I do not mind it, I relish everyday I have been blessed to have him here, as most grandparents are not as lucky to live so close to theirs and have them every week from 3 to 5 days. Both his parents must work extra hours (get all you can during this economy) and that is why I am doing the extra babysitting. My camera was misplaced at Tristan's 2nd birthday party last month and I just purchased a new camera yesterday, so instead of sweating over not creating any work with my writing & freaking out over not having a camera, I have just been enjoying the grandson, one mind you, that went potty (on his chair) all by himself (for the first time) when he was over here Wednesday. He was so excited and then got a little upset because Bugg and Tee would not high five him. I then informed Tristan that dogs do the high five with their mouth, so Tristan walked over to Bugg, high five'd his mouth and Bugg licked his hand, he laughed so hard and was rolling on the ground saying "Ha, ha, the doggies 5, the doggies 5. Since then I have been working with Bugg and Tee so I am able to train them to high five. Bugg already has it, so Tristan will be surprised tomorrow. Tee is trying but, he loses interest pretty fast and he is not one to really go for treats, funny huh. We also are going to be taking Tee to the veterinarian next Tuesday, I want them to check out his hearing. I think the dog is hard of hearing. Well, I will be in touch with you on the case I am working on, I need some legal help, as I have gone just about as far as I am able, not having a law degree. I hope your steak was fantastic and you were able to watch some good episodes of Walker, you deserve it. I will be in touch, thank you Jerry. Your friend, Denise:)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
6th Jul 2012 (#)

Denise, do you have Skype installed on your computer?

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author avatar Denise O
6th Jul 2012 (#)

no

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author avatar Jerry Walch
6th Jul 2012 (#)

Consider downloading and installing it...it's free and you call computer to computer anywhere in the world for free--both video and non-video calls. I also added outbound calls to landlines and cell phones to mine and I can call phones anywhere in the U.S. and Canada for a flat $2.99 a month.

Have to get ready to go to my Toastmasters Club meeting now! Chat more later.

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author avatar Retired
7th Jul 2012 (#)

Excellent page, Jerry, highly deserving of all the above comments. Bravo.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
7th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you rama devi nina.

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