Jail time vs. house arrest for those who fail to pay child suppo - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Jail time vs. house arrest for those who fail to pay child support?

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The debate over whether jail time is an appropriate penalty for someone who fails to pay child support was re ignited this week when some community leaders suggested home confinement as an alternative at a child poverty forum on Wednesday.

In West Virginia, penalties for failing to pay child support can reach the point where an offender is ordered to spend 3 years in prison but at time when jails are overcrowded with nonviolent offenders, lawmakers are looking for other solutions.

Home confinement or incarceration?  Some are questioning which would be the lesser of two evils.

"For this type of crime, failure to pay child support, I think jail doesn't really fit," Nathan Eary said.

David Thomas has been, both, ordered to pay and on the receiving end of child support.  He says he can see the pros and cons for both options.

"There should definitely be a penalty for people who don't pay child support," Thomas said.  "But you also don't want to take any chance away of them earning livelihood."

Lawmakers are now suggestion that those who fail to pay be restricted to house arrest, only being let out to either go to work or search for it.

"It'd be better to have home confinement as long as its enforced," Eary said. 

13 News' Facebook friends offered arguments for both sides of the debate.

One writes, "I am owed over $47.000 in back child support & he has NEVER spent a day in jail! My daughter is almost 20 yrs old now & I will never see a penny of it."

Another says, "If someone isn't paying, it's because he's not working -- put him in jail and what hope does he have of getting a job? "

If a bill passes allowing home confinement in place of jail time, lawmakers say it can also help to ease our overcrowded jails.