Corinth police show success in collecting fines

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – With stepped-up efforts over the past month, officers with the Corinth Police Department have collected $14,600 in municipal court fines.
Chief David Lancaster told the Corinth city board this week that two officers were assigned for five days to concentrate on serving the warrants, more than earning their salaries and the overtime approved for the project.
The focused attention on the issue also has prompted others with outstanding fines to pay up, said Municipal Court Clerk Dianne Johnson.
The police chief’s recommendation to continue using his officers to pursue the collections will be reviewed at the first November city board meeting. Johnson suggested that the threat of being jailed if the fines aren’t paid is a strong motivator for people owing fines to come up with the money quickly.
Earlier this month the Corinth board rescinded an agreement with Judicial Correction Services of Atlanta to collect those city fines.
The company handles collections for 17 municipal courts and 10 justice courts in Mississippi, and has numerous counties in Georgia, Florida and other states for which it collects fines.
However, the police chief and municipal court clerk expressed reservations about whether the company could maintain the degree of privacy they desired for people who owe the city fines, how the company interacts with people who owe the fines, and whether the company will vigorously pursue collecting old fines.
The company had said the fines would be collected at no cost to the city, with all collection fees paid by the person who owes the fine.
Anyone unable to pay the full amount of the fine at the time of demand would have been referred to Judicial Correction Services, which sets up probation arrangements with people owing fines. Anyone having a payment arrangement through the company would pay $100 per month to the city and $40 per month fee to Judicial Correction Services, a 70-30 percent split.
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com