Monday, June 15, 2009

Paying for crime

What do you do when you find yourself getting charged $45 every time you get arrested? A normal person might consider not committing crimes. After all, those $45 charges can really add up, and they probably get irritating after the first or second.

Obviously, however, a Kansas woman doesn't fall into the category of "normal person". After all, instead of not committing crimes, she's decided that her best course of action is to complain about the charges. Oh, and not pay one, which resulted in a larger fine. In fact, she refers to the charge as a "user fee".

How many different things are wrong with this. First off, being sent to prison isn't really something that a lot of people want to do. It's not like visiting an amusement park, or even going to a cyber-coffee house. Those places can charge user fees because their services are in demand from the regular public. A jail? With rare exception, the people that end up behind bars really don't want to be there. Sure, you may not believe that when you find out what they did to get locked up in the first place, but it's a pretty safe bet that many of them would rather be free, running around on a beach somewhere.

Secondly, the woman complains because the fee tends to be charged when fingerprints need to be taken. Given her status as a convicted felon, she points out that her fingerprints are already on file and don't need to be taken again. Well, the law actually lists crimes that do require such a procedure, regardless of whether the prints are already catalogued or not. So that kind of deflates her second argument.

Finally, and most importantly, if you don't want to pay the fine, stop committing crimes. Honestly, that would be like Paris Hilton complaining that people think she's just a tramp who'll bounce from bed to bed, without actually changing her patterns of bed-bouncing.

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