Community Probation Services, LLC and PSI Probation, LLC, for-profit probation companies, provide probation services for Giles County, Tennessee. The companies add their own fees and surcharges to the court debts of probationers. Probationers are subjected to invasive drug screens, repeated revocations and extensions of probation and repeated threats of jailing. Every person convicted in General Sessions or Circuit Court of a misdemeanor offense and assigned probation must pay either $25 or $50 weekly respectively. Supervised probation continues until fees are paid in full. A probationer who pays in full is no longer required to report to the probation company or pay additional fees. Indigent probationers who are unable to pay fees in full either face revocation or extension of their probation with additional fees. Many are forced to use disability checks, food stamps, or sell blood plasma to pay their court debts and probation fees. Plaintiffs allege that CPS and PSI have violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by extorting money from plaintiffs in violation of both state and federal law. They also allege that CPS and PSI’s direct pecuniary interest in the fees charged for probation violates due process and that by treating those who can immediately pay fines and fees differently from those who cannot, defendants violate equal protection.
Case is still pending before the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
You can find a detailed summary and complaints via the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. You can also read more about one of the plaintiffs, Karen McNeil.