Private probation company CEO denies 'debtor's prison' accusatio

Private probation company CEO denies 'debtor's prison' accusations

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HARPERSVILLE, AL (WBRC) -

A private probation company named as part of an investigation into Harpersville municipal court wrapped up a press conference just before noon on Thursday.

For weeks, there have been complaints about unfair fees and unjust incarceration. Judicial Correction Services has been ordered by a judge not to throw away any paperwork as the probe continues. Documents and court records have been seized from the Harpersville court.

In July, a Shelby County Judge issued a harsh opinion against Harpersville city council members and the company they hired to collect ticket fines. Judge Hub Harrington scolded the council and company for reinstating "debtor prisons" against the poor, which were outlawed in the country in the 19th century.

Birmingham attorney Bill Dawson filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of four people arrested, fined and in some cases jailed without legal defense.

When asked about accusations of a debtor's prison and judicially sanctioned extortion in Harpersville, the JCS CEO denied them.

"No, I would not do that, I would not allow that to be done. If any of my employees would do that, they would disciplined immediately," JCS CEO Robert McMichael said.

An independent study paid for by JCS found that the company did not have any legal responsibility or liability for the concerns raised in the Harpersville case.

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