No, the process appears to be more general. From the article: [INDENT] In Rhode Island from 2005 through 2007, failure to pay court debt was the most common reason that individuals were incarcerated, which means that, in a state that routinely spends around $200 million on corrections every year, the most common reason for incarcerating people there was something other than crime. [/INDENT]
In other news civil asset forfeiture is strongly related to a) higher local budget deficits and b) race. Jurisdictions with more blacks and hispanics experience more shakedowns by the cops.
Of course that’s only one mechanism. There lots of ways city police departments can plug budget gaps: You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.”
If you have money, for example, you can easily get a speeding ticket converted to a non-moving violation. But if you don’t have money it’s often the start of a downward spiral that is hard to pull out of:
[INDENT] For a simple speeding ticket, an attorney is paid $50-$100,
the municipality is paid $150-$200 in fines and court costs, and the
defendant avoids points on his or her license as well as a possible
increase in insurance costs. For simple cases, neither the attorney nor
the defendant must appear in court.
However, if you do not have the ability to hire an attorney or pay
fines, you do not get the benefit of the amendment, you are assessed
points, your license risks suspension and you still owe the municipality
money you cannot afford….If you cannot pay the amount in full, you
must appear in court on that night to explain why. If you miss court,
a warrant will likely be issued for your arrest.
People who are arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court
to pay the fines frequently sit in jail for an extended period. None of the
municipalities has court on a daily basis and some courts meet only
once per month. If you are arrested on a warrant in one of these
jurisdictions and are unable to pay the bond, you may spend as much as
three weeks in jail waiting to see a judge.
Of course, if you are arrested and jailed you will probably lose your job and perhaps also your apartment–all because of a speeding ticket. [/INDENT]
As for the OP, no I don’t have a problem with that policy. I see no reason why people shouldn’t be punished with both imprisonment and the equivalent of fines later on. I can imagine judicial systems implementing such policies that are fair.
I can also imagine a blue unicorn. I see no evidence that the situation described in the OP is consistent with responsible and well thought out policy.