A friend of mine tried to make a call to me the other day. Seems he was picked up on an old warrant issued on a citation that he had thought had been dismissed. I didn't actually get to talk to him because Correctional Billing Services refused to allow him to speak to anyone on the phone unless they were willing to pay 50 dollars in advance for the 'privilege' while he was being detained at Travis County.
With no other visitation options, they are, there is no other word for it, extorting money from friends and family members of anyone unfortunate enough to get arrested in Travis County. They stole personal information from us under false pretense (asked for address and billing information and then claimed to "not have a contract" with our phone provider. Strangely, they didn't have a contract with one of the largest mobile phone providers in the country either) and then demanded 50 dollars in advance to be allowed to talk to this friend of ours who has clearly had a hard enough time today.
They then proceeded to tie up our phone line for several minutes after we declined to pay them their usurious fee. The supervisor that we demanded to speak to (none of them would give names) called back after we hung up and proceed to lay the phone down in order to tie up the line on purpose.
[Bad as Travis County is, Williamson County is magnitudes worse, so don't get me wrong here. I'd sure like to see the contracts for this company pulled. I'd rather see them inhabiting the same cells they currently provide service to, and see how well they like it. But I'll settle for simply putting them out of business]
It's been 4 years (and more) of purgatory for this friend of mine, all because he was caught speeding and then agreed to a search of his vehicle by the officer that pulled him over (which I would never agree to, myself) who then found something to arrest him for inside the vehicle. This time they stopped him for a broken headlight, and when they ran his license number came up with the warrant that failed to get dismissed due to some petty little clerk's vengeful attitude. And off to jail he goes again.
Some would say "well that's what you get, should have kept his nose clean"; but to me it's the opposite lesson that should be taken from this. Always assume that you are guilty, and that you will end up in jail. With all the new laws on the books, there's bound to be something that you can go to jail for if they decide they want you. Learn to 'bah' convincingly like a sheep, for as long as it profits you; but don't bother worrying about whether your nose is clean. They'll dirty it for you if it's deemed necessary. Just keep the number of a good lawyer handy, you'll probably need it.
At lunch the other day, another friend of mine related a story concerning how he was nearly shot for being a drug dealer, just because he had the same name as someone who was fingered by a felon looking to lower his jail time. It was only due to a panicked call to 911 because there were strangers in his yard, that the warrentless invasion of his property was avoided. The vision flashed before his eyes, so he said. His house on the 6 o'clock news, and how they would describe him as one of those 'kooky gun nuts' that dared to resist police who were just 'doing their jobs'.
The downward spiral is in the system, not in the morals of today's population.