Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This is America?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
A woman held in a halfway house for months beyond her original sentence because she could not pay a $705 fine was released Tuesday after an agreement between the state Department of Corrections and the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Ora Lee Hurley had been caught in a legal Catch-22 that kept her confined to the Gateway Diversion Center in Atlanta for eight months beyond her initial 120-day sentence for a probation violation.

"We're grateful to the Department of Corrections for taking immediate steps to remedy the problem," Southern Center lawyer Sarah Geraghty said after a five-minute hearing before Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger where the settlement was announced.

Geraghty had earlier called Hurley's dilemma "another debtor's prison case."

Read on in the article and you find Hurley was no saint; she has a history of drug violations.

But to keep her incarcerated past her origninal sentence because she couldn't pay the fine? They were taking everything she earned to pay for keeping her in jail. Of course, she couldn't pay the fine.

That's not right.

Kudos to the Southern Center for Human Rights for stepping up and doing something about it.