Essay:Debt to society
There is a concept of a criminal's paying his debt to society through penance. Actually, this concept serves more to justify punishment than to justify release from punishment, because the truth is that society's lust for vengeance is never satisfied, no matter how much suffering the criminal has endured. The concept of redemption is mostly a myth, with ex-convicts being trapped permanently in semi-outlaw status.
Alicia Gathers writes, "When you’ve completed your sentence, you’re supposed to get out and be able to start over, rebuild your life. This is not possible for many who can’t find jobs, live in certain places and can’t qualify for a government grants to attend college." In some cases, the debt to society takes the form of an actual monetary debt, as defendants are required to pay for court costs, probationary supervision, restitution, halfway houses, community service insurance policies, GPS tracking charges, anger management classes, drug tests, court-appointed lawyer application fees, drug enforcement funds, victim assessment fees, and so on.
- Love, Margaret Colgate (3 April 2011). "Paying Their Debt to Society: Forgiveness, Redemption, and the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act". Howard Law Journal 54 (3). http://ssrn.com/abstract=1802180.
- Gathers, Alicia (National Prison Project). "Paying Our Debt to Society, But Not Really". http://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/paying-our-debt-society-not-really.
- Liptak, Adam (23 February 2006). "Debt to Society Is Least of Costs for Ex-Convicts". New York Times.