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SPLC statement on Gardendale, Ala. judge’s decision to discontinue use of private probation services

Gardendale, Alabama Municipal Court Judge Kenneth Gomany signed an order today that people who are currently assigned to probation with the private company Professional Probation Services, Inc. will no longer have to report or make payments to the company.

The municipal judge’s decision – following our federal lawsuit – to halt this private, for-profit company’s illegal extraction of money from people who cannot afford to pay fines for minor offenses is welcome news.

Our lawsuit challenging the private company’s illegal and conflicted practices will continue until we are certain that these abuses have ended and cannot recur, and that the people the company has already harmed are compensated for their abuse.

Our Constitution promises every person a fair day in court. This company sabotaged that basic right. Today, the municipal judge took an important step in beginning to rectify that wrong.