senior scribes

Straight Talk
By Mona Lease

Hi, all!! This column is risqué. Risqué is from a French word that means "to risk." Among the many words associated with risqué - I'm citing the following to provide parameters in which to look at the following text: rude, improper, crude, and coarse. I've been speaking to a few people about this and they want to see this in print. They say they want to show it to a few people. Read on at your own risk - pun intended.

As I pen this - there are 35 inmates at our county jail. You can see the list - complete with mugshots, crimes, court appearances, bonds, etc,  at I'm told that you have to pay $30 a day to be incarcerated at the jail. I did not check this - it's not the main point here. I've studied this site for the last 5 years. People have been inmates at the jail for as long as 10 months and as little a stay as 2 or 3 days. The crimes are usually domestic violence, drug-related, DUIs, and child endangering.

My attention was grabbed when a thought entered my mind - that thought being: "Why now is there such a push to "fix" our drug problem? Drugs have always been around. AA has been around for some 100 years - give or take. NA - Narcotics Anonymous - has been around for at least the last 35 years. Is this push to "fix" because people are dying at an alarming rate and we can no longer ignore the drugs themselves and those who use or sell them?"

When you go to court on any charge - you may request a "public defender" or be told a lawyer will be provided to you if you can not afford one. This person gets paid a fee per week (or maybe every 2 weeks) whether they see 300 clients or 30 clients. The last I knew - public defenders were paid by the state and maybe the county and/or city...perhaps some combination of these....maybe 50/50...60/30, etc. I'm told some public defenders have to be paid a nominal fee by the client. I did not recheck this - it's only a guidepost. Judges were paid the same way. Again - I did not's another guidepost.

After I kept seeing the same names and the same crimes - I started to wonder about a few things. Are the "repeat offenders" being watched - like rats in a maze? Seriously; it's the same people...the same crime...the same fine (or within $100), the same court costs, etc.

It's as if repeat offenders are counted upon to keep up their unlawful if no one will tire of being sick from withdrawals and just quit. I did a little math and the calculator confirms that my learned skills survive to this day (thanks to teachers at the Greenville Jr High...all three floors!)

If you have 35 inmates at the jail (there are as I pen this) and they are charged $30 a day to be there - that's $1,050 a day. If all of the 35 stay for 30 days - that's $31,500 a month. If they all stay for 10 months - that's $315,000 for the 10 months. And that's probably the highest is could be in a county jail.

The thing here is: "If everyone quit the drugs...the DUIs...the domestic violence...the child endangering...what would happen? Would those entities receiving state aid fall into hard times? Would the jail be forced to close or relocate to a smaller, more cost-effective facility?

And then another of my disturbing thoughts lodged itself in my mind: "If you have to pay to be in jail and you get released - you would make payments...right? Otherwise - you'd keep "racking up" a bill. They used to call this situation "debtors prison" in our not-so-distant past history. You would stay in jail (prison) and keep racking up a bill until someone you knew...some family member or friend,  paid your bill and you worked out how to pay it back with them. No one can tell me this either: "If you owe the jail money, are out and making payments, your Aunt Rhoda dies leaving you her entire estate...bankroll and all - can the jail take part of your inheritance for what you owe the jail (and maybe charge you interest)? Would they take the inheritance? Should they take the inheritance? My opinion is that all of the people involved in the above-mentioned activities should "take a think" on this. You might have nothing now and not see a way that you ever will have anything. But, we all have an "Aunt Rhoda"...don't we?

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there. Happy Mother's Day especially to the Moms out there who set a standard for your home....for all of the times you said no and stuck to the no even when you wanted to "give in just once." It's hard being the one to hand out the punishments or keep the lines drawn when you know that one day you'll watch them cry over their first heartbreak. Good job, girls!!

Remember the kiddies and our service people. Take good care of the furry and feathered ones out there. Be safe and healthy. See ya next time. Ever Toodles!! MONA

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