As N.P.R. reported in May, services that “were once free, including those that are constitutionally required,” are now frequently billed to offenders: the cost of a public defender, room and board when jailed, probation and parole supervision, electronic monitoring devices, arrest warrants, drug and alcohol testing, and D.N.A. sampling. This can go to extraordinary lengths: in Washington state, N.P.R. found, offenders even “get charged a fee for a jury trial — with a 12-person jury costing $250, twice the fee for a six-person jury.”
After she came up to me and said, “I’ve been with my partner for 20 years… We would never get married because he’s on social security income, and because my daughter is disabled I have secondary income from the state to support my daughter. If I got married, both my benefits and his benefits would be reduced because we would become a double income family.”
She was explaining that marriage doesn’t work for poor people, and that it doesn’t work for disabled people. Having really simple examples like hers are important.
this is important. for a lot of low income folks on government benefits, marriage is against their financial self-interest. trying to put a dollar amount of the symbolic value of marriage is hard.