A 34-year-old Black woman is facing six months in a St. Louis jail, all because of a traffic ticket. Precious Jones is now speaking out.
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On Mother’s Day weekend of 2017, Jones was pulled over for driving 120 miles per hour. The police officer wrote her a traffic ticket, but she missed her August court date. After turning herself into police, paying a bond on an outstanding warrant and setting up a new court date, Jones thought she was in the clear.
However, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, “Associate Circuit Court Judge Kelly Rose gave her a six-month jail sentence and two years probation. The jail sentence would be suspended if Jones did 20 days ‘shock time’ in jail, on consecutive weekends.”
Jones was surprised the judge was so harsh, but every Friday she managed to make it to the Lafayette County Jail. She was an hour late once for work-related reasons. Another time, in June, her car broke down, she called the jail and didn’t make it to the next day. They kept her for two fulls days.
By July, she thought she had finished serving time and paid all of the fines. But in September, she received a notice from Lafayette County saying there was a warrant out for her arrest. St. Louis Dispatch says, “Because she had been late to jail, even though she stayed and did her full time, prosecutor Kristen Hilbrenner was seeking to revoke her probation.”
Precious Jones is now facing six months in jail again. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. They are just not going to let me go,” she said. “I’m losing everything. They keep coming back for more. They’re trying to milk me for all I’ve got.”
Missouri courts are famous for over-punishing people, especially people of color, for minor crimes.
This is America.
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