Dr. Helen

'...women who fail to pay all of their child support are incarcerated only one-eighth as often as men with similar violations.'

Fathers and Families has a disturbing piece in its recent newsletter on the gender bias in incarceration rates for child support obligations. Naturally, men are the sex discriminated against. One would think this would be common knowledge, of course, and maybe it is but no one but F & F and a few activists seems to care. From the newsletter:

A new report concludes that between 95% and 98.5% of all incarcerations in Massachusetts sentenced from the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts from 2001 through 2011 have been men. Moreover, this percentage may be increasing, with an average of 94.5% from 2001 to 2008, and 96.2% from 2009 through 2011. It is likely that most of these incarcerations are for incomplete payment of child support.

Further analysis suggests that women who fail to pay all of their child support are incarcerated only one-eighth as often as men with similar violations. Several possible explanations of these results other than gender bias are unsupported by the data, strengthening the view that gender bias against fathers is a major factor in the family courts….

Based on national data, if incarceration for non-payment of child support occurred at equal rates for men and women who are in arrears, 88% of those incarcerated would be men, not 95% to 98.5%, and 12% would be women (since 12% of those in arrears are women). If, as Brennan’s report shows, as few as 1.5% of those incarcerated for non-payment of child support in Massachusetts are women, instead of the expected 12%, then women in arrears are incarcerated at a rate eight times less than their numbers warrant.

As Warren Farrell concludes in his book The Myth of Male Power, men are expendable. Perhaps that is why no one cares if men are thrown in jail at such a high rate for what should be considered a debt, not a criminal action. I thought we got rid of debtor’s prisons in the US. Apparently, not for men and a few women who are caught up in the family court system where judges have easy reign to take away the rights of free citizens, sometimes without due process and certainly without mercy.