US: For-Profit Probation Tramples Rights of Poor

This video by Human Rights Watch shows how private probation companies can strip people of basic necessities and jail them because they can’t afford to pay their court debt and exorbitant probation fees. The video draws on interviews with directly impacted people, a senior Human Rights Watch researcher, and a Georgia attorney to detail the abuses of private probation companies against poor Americans.

You can watch the video here, and it is also embedded below.

Key Findings
  • Private probation companies are motivated to keep people on probation as long as possible to maximize the amount of fees they can collect.
  • Even though private probation companies advertise themselves as a free service to the courts, these companies actually shift costs back to state and local governments when they jail people who cannot afford to pay their court debt (debt that has been compounded by additional fees assessed by the probation company).
Human Rights Watch