In the past decade, child-support collections from the estimated 11 million fathers who do not live with their children have nearly doubled, to more than $18 billion a year. Most of that money comes from fathers who have stable jobs and can afford to pay.I always wondered how many dads exactly have been put behind bars for not being able to pay. The Zetamale linked us to an article that gave us a number (for South Carolina at least):
Where the money does not come from is the 2.5 million poor noncustodial fathers in the United States. According to a study by the Urban Institute, nearly 30 percent of these men are in prison. Among the remainder, nearly half are unemployed. Those who do have jobs earn an average of $5,600 a year, well below the poverty line.
Poor fathers are often asked to pay significantly more, as a percentage of their income, than middle- class fathers, according to the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a social policy research group that studied 5,500 low-income fathers in seven cities in the 1990's. Nearly two-thirds of the poor fathers tracked by the study had child support orders that demanded more than half of their income.
South Carolina is one of those states that does not provide a lawyer for indigent parents facing prison for nonpayment, [...] in South Carolina, 13 percent of the county jail population consists of nonpaying parents held in civil contempt, and 98 percent of them did not have lawyers.And justice for all, well at least for those that can afford having a lawyer...