Thursday, November 12, 2015

Political STDs

The rage with all these new cities is "outsourcing" services to private enterprises. Dunwoody is not immune to this affliction. One government responsibility that is widely dodged is probation management and supervision. Now if you've been paying attention to what goes on in this Great State you have most likely heard of and been appalled by the role this practice plays in creating debtor prisons.

It works like this. A municipality farms out their responsibility (to the public and the offender) for managing and monitoring probationers to for-profit companies. In search of greater profits these companies not only take the probationers' money they tack on fees at the slightest opportunity. These fees are often outside their ability to pay, additional charges mount and before you know it the probationer is back in court facing not only these fees extended probation and possible incarceration. And taxpayers foot the bill for that one.

The AJC has reported on this practice and its consequences extensively. While the State Supreme Court has declared privatization legal it also declared that drawing out sentences is not. The kerfuffle lead to legislation, signed by the Governor, creating a probation oversight agency. We wait with [pro]bated breath to see how that works. It has not prevented lawsuits against companies and the governments that hire them.

One company is a standout. They are not only ordered to repay people held on probation illegally but they have been hit with more than one civil rights lawsuit and a motion for change of venue has been denied. Even [disgruntled] employee reviews are not overwhelmingly flattering.

Given all this information, readily available to the public, what government in their right mind would ink a deal with this company? That would be the Smart City of Dunwoody.