When Tarra Simmons was released after 20 months in prison in 2013, she found that she still had a hefty debt to society waiting for her, and it had been accruing interest the whole time she was behind bars.Sure, $6,000 may not sound like a lot of money when we're talking about $100,000 or more in law school debt, but you have to multiply it by 3 when it's court-ordered and slash the educational debt by a factor of 10 since it's spreadsheet monopoly money that's more of an investment on future millions.
She got back home to Bremerton but was unable to find a job that provided benefits and paid enough to support herself and her son. Saddled with more than $6,000 in court-ordered debt, plus interest, she had to make a decision.
The simpleton might say, "well, the last thing you should do is go to law school and incur more debt," but it's time to think like a lawyer.
"What do I do?" Simmons, 38, remembers asking herself. "I said, 'You know what? I'm just going to go to law school and change this thing that keeps me from getting a second chance.'"If there was ever a foolproof way to pay down $6,000 in debt, I think tacking on $150,000 in debt for a law degree that can pay off the combined $156,000 in debt is a stroke of genius. Not only is the $6,000 instantly minuscule in comparison, but with the earning power of the JD, shit, that $6k can be wiped out with a month's worth of discretionary income.
Now she is about to finish her second year at the Seattle University School of Law...
Instead of "going back to sell drugs and committing crimes" to pay a measly six grand, ex-inmates can go back to court every day and commit the slowest, most graceful suicide mankind has yet developed while defending justice in the galaxy and paying down debt. Paying down debt is no longer an inconvenience; it's a lifestyle choice.
Or, you could find a JD alternative career that pays lucratively.
Simmons doesn't have her sights on a career as a corporate or trial attorney, or service as a public defender or prosecutor, but as an advocate working for those in Kitsap going through what she went through....Some people - almost invariably 0Ls - get it. Some - deluded law graduates - just do not.
In fact, as the article elucidates, lots of prisoners leave the clink with perceptively hefty repayment obligations. It seems silly to have them shuffling around unable to get cars or jobs because of some piddling $10-15k debts. Let's put these folks on the fast-track to law degrees at fine institutions like Seattle so that they can turn that burdensome, unpayable debt of $10-15k into a much more easily paid $150k with a juris doctor.
If there was a post-modern form of alchemy, I think I've just found it, and now I have a patent application to fill out. Thank God I have a JD, so I know what garbage goes in what can.