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Home » Probation » Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Rutherford County

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Rutherford County

rutherford-county-corruptionThe scary part is that these accusations have been made in the form of a federal lawsuit — it’s serious business, and there’s a lot of evidence supporting the prosecution. For years, Rutherford County has worked with a private business, Providence Community Corrections Inc. (PCC), to facilitate probation services. And if the allegations are valid, this company has been exploiting its position: extorting people to rake in millions.

The Rutherford Racket

Corruption in the probation system has happened in other places. The non-profit group that filed this lawsuit against Rutherford County has already done the same for counties in Missouri and Louisiana. Makes you wonder how much activity like this has been going on across the nation, behind the scenes.

This particular case involves seven plaintiffs, each of which claiming to have been taken advantage of when trying to pay off fines related to misdemeanor charges. The fees just keep stacking in an arbitrary pattern. Alec Karakatsanis, the person responsible for filing this lawsuit against PCC and Rutherford County, describes the apparent system:

“When they put you on probation, the private company tacks on additional fees and extra fees. And they threaten people if they don’t pay what they are demanding, they’re going to throw them in jail. […] Rutherford County has essentially given control of its entire system to this private company that is operating an extortion racket.”

One victim of the probation system’s corruption is Cindy Rodriguez. After confessing to a shoplifting offense, she spent an entire year paying a single fine of $578. Her receipts prove it. But after twelve months of constantly stacking court costs and suspiciously added fees for “falling behind on payments,” Rutherford County still demanded $512 for the same charge.

Karakatsanis thinks it’s a problem of greed. “They’re taking the most vulnerable people in Rutherford County and they’re threatening them that they are going to have them jailed unless they give the company enough money for its own profit.”

And no one can deny that, through legal means or not, both PCC and the county are making a humungous profit. The longer a person’s probation lasts, the more fees they can collect. If a probation continues indefinitely, that means an indefinite contribution of cash in hand for PCC and Rutherford County — it would pay to keep customers on leashes.

Probation in Tennessee

Probation is ordered for criminals in lieu of an arrest, or other type of sentencing. It can be extended if payments are not made according to the schedule demanded by the judge. In addition, offenders must report to their assigned probation officers every so often according to a schedule determined during sentencing. In many probation circumstances, regular screenings and testings are required for drugs, alcohol, and other such information. Such check-ins are required at regular intervals throughout the probation sentence. As with late payments, failure to attend a required check-in can be penalized with extended probation.

Hire Nashville Criminal Lawyers

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients accused of violating the terms of their probation. If you’re the victim of unfair treatment on behalf of your probation officer or believe that you’ve been dealt an unfair hand, you have the right to challenge such injustices in the courtroom. Call today, or go online to set up your Free Initial Consultation, and meet with a lawyer who’s ready and waiting to get you on track toward a satisfactory resolution.

(615) 259-2660

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