It makes me very sad and also angry to read the March 24th Boston Globe story, “MA man awaiting court hearing found dead in cell.”
We do not throw broke people in jail if they can’t pay their mortgage, if they can’t pay their car payments and if they can’t make their credit card payments. Debtors prisons were eliminated years ago. However, if you are a dead broke father and you can’t pay your child support, they do throw you in jail. This is wrong.
Dead broke fathers in jail have no hope to be able to pay their child support and also are often torn from their children. A little secret of society is that divorced men who are separated from their children have one of the highest rate of suicides. While society may say so what, they should not. When a parent commits suicide, it puts the child of this parent at great risk for suicide themselves.
We should all mourn the sad loss of David Desruisseau and also morn for his children. The punishment imposed upon Mr. Desrusiseau violates the Constitution for Cruel and Unusual punishment. It must stop. The sad part is that the Family and Probate System, the Department of Revenue and the Criminal Justice system does not even keep track of the number of non violent dads thrown in prisons, at the cost to the Commonwealth at about $35,000 per year. Now we know their is another hidden cost, the life of this dad and other dads and their children too. It is time to help dads who are in financial trouble, and stop putting them in jail.