These photographs I took back in 2010 when I visited Red River County to investigate residents’ complaints of injustice. I was somewhat taken aback by the painted sign that reads, “Paid for by: the Convicted Criminals of Red River County Texas”. After speaking with some people, I realized such a sign may convey a very loaded and political message.
A number of citizens indicated that the town very much depends on probation fees. I was told that the District Attorney will not bring a case to court (by delaying the case as long as he wants) This alleged lingering of justice intimidates and frustrates individuals. To “make the case go away”, thus, the DA’s office offers a “deal”: a plea of guilty from the accused–which remains on the person’s criminal record–no jail time, and a commitment to pay probation fees for a determinate number of years. The above sign could point to the hypothesis that perhaps the “convicted criminals”—those who pled guilty—are, indeed, paying for the police cars through the probation fees. Though I was never able to confirm these allegations, there exists a possibility the interpretation is apt. Regardless, the mere signs seem tasteless.