May 1, 2011 1:31 PM by AP posted By James H Egbert
ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Authorities in Connecticut are taking steps to help prison inmates cope with a problem that affects them and inmates around the nation: child-support debts that mount while they're behind bars.
The state's Judicial Branch says 36 percent of its open child-support cases involve more than 44,000 non-custodial parents who have been or are currently in prison.
Experts say nationally, non-custodial parents exit prison with debts averaging about $20,000.
In 2006, the state began sending information to all inmates with more than three years remaining on their sentence to help them get child-support orders amended. This year, similar information is being given many inmates coming into prison.
Other states, such as Illinois and Maryland, allow former convicts to have at least some of the debt wiped clean if they make regular child-support payments for a specific length of time.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)