Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A judge in Michigan found a different way to nudge noncustodial parents into paying up for late child support: He makes them watch a daytime television talk show.
|This interview from FOX 2 News in Detroit features Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree explaining how he decided to impose a new punishment for delinquent dads on probation.|
Fathers (and sometimes mothers) who have court orders to pay child support but do not do so are often stigmatized in society as "deadbeat" parents. Counties in a number of states, along with states like Washington, Delaware, and Mississippi list delinquent fathers on online sites to shame them into paying up. A judge in Wayne County, Michigan has taken a different approach in targeting dads who haven't paid child support: Instead of sending them to jail, he makes selected defendants watch the syndicated talk show Maury. The show, hosted by Maury Povich, often features themes like unknown paternity and fatherhood avoidance. Men who are sentenced by Judge McCree agree to make payments, plus watch the show and discuss it with their probation officers to hopefully recognize the stigma of avoiding their obligations to their children. In an interview with the AP, Judge McCree has said it is too early to see what the results of this type of sentencing are. But he has received national attention for his unusual punishment, and Maury producers invited McCree to New York for a taping of the show which aired May 14.