Friday, August 26, 2011

Should We Give a Felony Conviction for Failure to Pay Child Support?

Alan Keith Moon plead guilty to two counts of Felony-Non-Support of a  Child- and was sentenced to 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), by Judge William Chapman III, with 37 days of imprisonment, and nine years and 328 days of Supervised Post-Release Supervision.

Mississippi Attorney General, Jim Hood,  says that during the first two years of the 10 years sentence, Moon is to pay an additional $200 a month on top of his regular child support obligation until paid in full. The defendant will also pay court costs. His total arrearage amount is $23,000.

While I commend the court for trying to do something about dead-beat dads that don't take care of their children, charging him with a felony and throwing him into prison is not the answer.

A much more logical thing to have done, would have been to send him to a restitution center where he has to pay room and board and stay there till his debt is paid in full, and he doesn't cost the taxpayers one thin dime.

Once convicted of a felony, his future ability to pay child support, and the amount of child support he could pay, has been damaged.  The majority of employers deny anyone with a felony conviction a job, and the ones that are available are low income, and barely enough to survive on, which means his child will be getting less support money. Also consider the fact that if convicted of a felony, you can't hold a professional license in the State of Mississippi (Not even to cut hair), and you begin to get the picture of how, in the long run, it may actually damage the child more.

Although Moon's sentence was suspended, he will still be on probation for the next ten years, and if you consider the fact that most probationers (many with only a years probation) usually end up in prison, many times for minor offenses, Moon is just as likely as the rest to violate probation and wind up in  prison.  

When he does, he wont' be paying any child support at all, and who do you think is going to pick up the tab for supporting him?  The taxpayers of the state of Mississippi, that's who, and considering it cost from $20,000 to 45, 000 per year to house an inmate, Moon could end up easily costing the taxpayers of this great state $200,000.00 to take care of his sorry behind, which is much more than the $23,000. he owed in back support.

Shame on him for not taking care of his children, and shame on our government for putting the taxpayers on the line to support him if something happens and he does not fulfill his obligations.

I for one am sick of paying to keep people in prison for non-violent offenses, often for longer  periods of time than violent criminals. 

This country can not afford to continue to make EVERYTHING a felony because disenfranchising so many people will come back to haunt us.

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