Imagine a young kid, Troy, being forced to protect his baby sister by silently crouching together in a hot attic when Mommy’s “boyfriends” came over to take drugs. What kind of future do you see for such a kid when he grows up. As you might suspect, Troy’s childhood went from terrible to worse. While still a young man, he attended a party, got in a drunken fight with an acquaintance, and spent his 20’s and 30’s in prison.
I would love to say Troy’s life took a positive turn after he was released, but it didn’t. Though Troy wanted to do right, family ties seduced him into following the path his mother and uncles had chosen. For a while, drugs became more important than his wife and children and more important than his freedom.
After more time in jail, Troy did come to his senses. He gave up the drugs and focused on his work. Just when he was beginning to see himself as a contributing member of society, a fellow worker accused Troy of robbing him. Though there was no physical evidence of Troy’s guilt, and several issues of logic and circumstantial evidence for his innocence, the prosecutor insisted on the following: Troy had to”admit” to his guilt before the judge and receive a year of probation, or go on trial and face 30 years in prison. You see, Troy’s past convictions would allow the prosecutor to identify Troy as a career criminal.
After pleading guilty, Troy learned that the prosecutor had failed to mention his probation would be supervised by a private company who would charge him $65 per week for their services (as opposed to $45 per month if he were under the state probation system) and that his driver’s license would be revoked. It did not matter that Troy’s “offense” had nothing to do with Troy being behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Basically, Troy is being held for ransom. He cannot legally drive to work to pay his fees, and he cannot pay his fees without working. Troy does not live on a bus line, so the likelihood of earning the $3,380 he needs for the private company is pretty slim. Of course, the private company is happy to petition the court for a warrant the first week Troy doesn’t have $65.
And so it is true, Troy has been kidnapped by felonists. Troy’s freedom, possibly his life, is dependent on the payment of his ransom. The people profiting from Troy’s past and present legal difficulties do not care who pays the fees. The prosecutor, judge, nor private probation company do not care if Troy is compliant with the law, is staying away from drugs, is desperately striving to comply with the law. They will not rejoice if he finds a way to pay his fees nor cry if he spends a year or more in jail. The prosecutor’s docket has been closed, the judge’s paperwork is complete, and the private company has been assured that it will be paid. There is no empathy were felonism exists.
We are praying for you, Troy, and the thousands of others who are walking in your shoes. We invite all readers to do the same and to share their stories of others who have been victimized by felonism.