Or the increased pressure from these "Dead Beat Dad Laws" will coerce them into committing crimes they otherwise would not have. So even if it deters ONE crime, it would probably prompt just as many.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael Baker, who handles all of the felony nonsupport cases, said prison is also the last resort when a person is convicted of the fifth-degree felony. Judges usually sentence dead beats to probation, and Baker said they are given as many chances as possible before they are sent to prison.
“You can count on one hand people who have gone straight to prison on just a nonsupport case,” he said. “The rest have been on probation, and they haven’t gone to prison until they’ve violated their probation in one way or another.”
Complicating matters is
noncustodial parents’ inability to pay the required support. Indeed, parents with incomes of $10,000 per year or less owe approximately 70% of
outstanding child support arrears.3
I might consent to SEX, but that does not mean I consent to having a CHILD.
The real question is how anybody could figure it makes more sense to spend the $40K/year or whatever it costs to keep a person in prison than to forget about squeezing anything from the $3000/year which some of these guys make.
Particularly in the United States when something cannot be figured logically, you follow the money. In this case the only people whose opinions appear to matter are those who either own stock in private prison firms or otherwise profit/benefit from the prison/industrial system.
The reach of the child support system
in the District is vast. With over 76,658
children in its child support caseload,103
the Office of the Attorney General
(OAG) Child Support Services Division
(CSSD) is responsible for the welfare of
as many children as DC Public school
and Public Charter Schools combined.
While no data was available to track
the specific children that these two
systems have in common, we know
that the demographics are remarkably
similar: largely African-American, and a
substantial majority living in households
with annual income 200 percent below
the poverty line.104 For children in
these low-income households, child
support, if paid would constitute an
average of 30 percent of the family’s income.
Furthermore, schoolchildren who
receive the child support to which they
are entitled are more likely to finish
high school and go to college than
children who are entitled to support
but do not receive it. Significantly,
this positive educational effect is
independent of the amount of support
received. Regardless of the dollar
amount, the very fact of receiving
child support from an absent parent,
in practice, helps a child do better in
In 2005, 61,498 cases, 72.2 percent of
CSSD’s 85,177 cases, involved current or
former recipients of public assistance.
These 61,498 cases include 29.5 percent
who are current TANF recipients which
is almost twice the national average of
15 percent.109 In 2006, the child support
caseload dropped to 77,651, including
27.2 percent current TANF recipients, 43.3
percent former TANF recipients, and only
29.4 percent that never received TANF.
First, a custodial parent who applies for
TANF benefits is required to provide
identity and contact information for
the father or “alleged father” (if legal
paternity has not been established) of
the child. The custodial parent must also
assign rights to the state to any support
collected from the father on the child’s
behalf. A custodial parent who is required
to cooperate with CSSD to be eligible for
welfare benefits is not a customer who is
pursuing child support by choice. While
some TANF recipients may be ignorant
about their right to support, many have
actively decided against pursuing an order
on their own. It can be difficult to get
paternity information from these unwilling
There are several reasons for this
unwillingness. For example, a custodial
parent may not pursue support because
she knows that the father is not working
and will be unable to pay. Or, she may
already receive support informally whether
monetary, in-kind, or both. In that case,
she would rather not jeopardize her
relationship with or existing support from
the father by bringing the formal system
into their arrangement. Alternatively,
she may be afraid that, if she pursues
child support through formal channels,
she or her children will suffer harm from
the father.122 She may want no further
relationship with the father and is worried
that, if required to pay child support, he
will then be entitled to visitation. She
would rather forego the income than allow
the father access to the child. It is also
possible that a custodial parent may have
no information about the father, though
anecdotally such instances appear in the
Second, the custodial parent may not be
aware that the public assistance and child
support systems are linked. By applying
for TANF or Medicaid the custodial parent
automatically opens a child support case.
She also may not be aware of the nature
of the linkage – or that information that is
shared between the systems. The Project
team heard from custodial parents whose
former partners were surprised and angry
when they received notice of the child
support case, not realizing that, when
the custodial parent applied for public
assistance, a child support case would be
initiated. The team has also been told
of instances where the mother denied
any knowledge of the father to the child
support intake worker when, in fact, there
was a Voluntary Acknowledgement of
Paternity on file with the District Office of
Vital Records, to which the child support
system has ready access.
Finally, since TANF recipients ordinarily do
not expect to see any benefit directly from
child support (and may even be afraid of
harm), they are not invested in helping
the system function well. The system is
built around the idea that custodial parents
benefit and therefore want to collect child
support, as most separated and divorced
parents do. In DC, however, where most
cases involve never-married parents and
70 percent of the total caseload is initiated
through mandatory referrals, this notion
does not ordinarily apply
A central component of this creed is called the American Ethos, or the American Dream. Every American today instinctively knows the ethos: that every individual should be able to get ahead and gain some measure of success through actions and means that are under his or her own control. Roger Angell describes it as the faith that we all belong somewhere within a rational and forgiving system that in the end rewards hard work, intelligence, and sacrifice. The ethos is that everyone who steadfastly practices certain practical virtues will find a place at the table. No one need be left out, unless he or she voluntarily chooses to be. These virtues--self-control, discipline, effort, perseverance, and responsibility--stand at the core of our sense of morality and our idea of good character, and are essential to the success and safety of a good society. To fail to reward them would be to diminish and devalue them as virtues. No value survives forever on incantations alone
Kevin Macfie owes more than $60,000 in child support, and he's spent most of the past three years at the Bergen County Jail as authorities have tried to get him to pay up.
His 871 nights and weekends behind bars have cost taxpayers more than $87,000.
During that time, he's paid less than $15,000 in child support, much of it garnisheed from unemployment benefits, which have long since run out. Homeless, jobless and struggling with alcoholism, there's little sign he will ever pay what he owes.
Macfie has had plenty of company in jail. Last year, more than 1,800 men and women were incarcerated or sentenced to home confinement with ankle bracelets in Bergen and Passaic counties for failing to pay child support. They and thousands of others statewide cycle in and out of a court system whose mission is to get money from people who claim they just don't have any.
It's an obscure world, known mostly to the probation officers, jail deputies, divorce attorneys and family court judges who must wade through the tales of broken blue- and white-collar lives and the many excuses the parents offer for why they aren't providing for their kids.
Across the state, authorities currently have 33,000 active arrest warrants for parents behind on their payments. Some parents are regularly picked up and jailed for weeks or months at a stretch, as they try the patience of judges as well as ex-spouses with their stories of woe. In Bergen County, the jail has a special 65-bed bunkhouse for fathers behind on payments.
Supporters say a jail stay is sometimes the only way to get reluctant payers to comply in a state where parents owe nearly $2.9 billion in unpaid child support. Deadbeat parents, they say, leave children in crisis as custodial parents struggle to pay the bills.
"Without the threat of incarceration he'll never pay a cent," said Laura Nichols, whose ex-husband owes $96,000 in back child support. She and her two children moved in with her mother in Hasbrouck Heights after the divorce and she worked two jobs for years to pay the bills.
"I think he's made a career out of avoiding his obligations," she said. "He's an able-bodied man who's capable of earning a living. He just doesn't do it."
Nichols, a former computer software designer who has suffered job losses and a recent eviction, said the system assumes he and other fathers willfully won't pay, not that they don't have the money. And jailing the fathers often causes them to fall even further behind, he said. Nichols has tried for years to interest civil liberties groups and attorneys in taking up some of these cases, but said finding allies has been difficult.
"We're deadbeat dads in everybody's eyes; no one wants anything to do with us," he said. "We're stuck with a label that puts us on the lower rung of society: fathers who aren't taking care of their kids."
In Bergen County, men who aren't able to convince a judge they have done their best to pay what they owe are ordered to spend nights and weekends in the special wing of the jail. They are strip-searched, subjected to random urine tests and sent out each weekday morning to work - or look for work - to pay their debt and earn their release. Women are sent home in ankle bracelets, escaping jail only because there is no similar wing for them.
In Passaic County, where 955 were arrested last year in child support cases, parents picked up on warrants face a different fate - 24/7 incarceration in the general population of the jail.
To Ariel Schochet, who has served eight stints behind bars in Bergen County, the so-called deadbeat dad roundups trap the men in a system they are never able to climb out of. "We aren't supposed to have debtor's prisons in this country anymore, but that's essentially what this has turned into," said Schochet, who built up a $278,000 debt to his ex-wife after losing his job on Wall Street.
For some, the cycle has gone on for so long that something of a lifestyle has developed. This past winter, about a dozen men who were spending their nights in jail started gathering at the McDonald's on Essex Street in Hackensack before sunrise. They had been released to go out and work, but some didn't have jobs to go to - and a few didn't even have homes. They needed a place to hole up for a few hours until the nine-to-five world awakened. Nursing cups of coffee for hours, the men traded stories about unforgiving judges and ex-wives and obsessing over their next court hearings.
"I've had old friends tell me that I'm like a broken record talking about my child support and alimony problems," said Jorge Reynaldo, a former commodities broker from Midland Park who owes more than $168,000 in child support and alimony and spent most of last year in jail. "They don't want to hear about it anymore.
"That's why it's good we have each other to talk to," he said. "We're the only ones who can stand to listen to each other.
It ain't gunna be long before ya slip on your brass knuckles and MAKE the son of a bitch pay, right? With money, blood, or both. He aint gittin of scot-free, that's for sure.
How many people are we talking about? The latest data (Table 46) shows that in 2010, of the 1.84 million families on welfare, 16.6 percent — or about 300,000 — left the rolls because of a new job.
Macfie has had plenty of company in jail. Last year, more than 1,800 men and women were incarcerated or sentenced to home confinement with ankle bracelets in Bergen and Passaic counties for failing to pay child support.
If every time a couple have sex it is regarded as a contract to have a child then women have no right to abortion unless both agree .
I dont have time to read all of this thread, but if taxes and student fees are deducted as you earn why not child support ? Thats how we roll here . If he/she doesnt earn, he/she doesnt pay .
It's that way here too, but it does imply having a job. Also, they can't take more than (usually) 50% of income after required deductions, and that's 50% total - not per child. I believe there's also some consideration of the garnishment as a percentage of minimum wage, though thankfully, the company I did payroll for didn't have anyone even close to minimum wage.
Edit: That information only applies to allowable garnishment from wages. The obligation continues regardless of employment or ability to pay.