Debtor’s Prison

Back in the early days of America England would turn out all the prisoners in debtor’s prison and mail them off to the new world and they were our first settlers……that’s right some of our earliest settlers were ex-cons, if you will……

But once we became a separate country we did away with people going to prison because they had the misfortune of being in debt……a step forward in the evolution of a civilized country, right?

The sad thing is that debtor’s prison may be making a comeback and in the country that prides itself in not throwing people in prison for being in debt…..

From Fox News:

As if out of a Charles Dickens novel, people struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States.

Critics are calling the practice the new “debtors’ prison” — referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off.

Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union say it’s been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it’s against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees — or they just haven’t been called on it until now.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law released a “Tool Kit for Action” in 2012 that broke down the cost to municipalities to jail debtors in comparison with the amount of old debt it was collecting. It doesn’t look like a bargain. For example, according to the report, Mecklenburg County, N.C., collected $33,476 in debts in 2009, but spent $40,000 jailing 246 debtors — a loss of $6,524.

Don’t worry, I’m sure private prisons for debtors will soon spring up to make this practice a pillar of GDP growth.

Many jurisdictions have taken to hiring private collection/probation companies to go after debtors, giving them the authority to revoke probation and incarcerate if they can’t pay. Research into the practice has found that private companies impose their own additional surcharges. Some 15 private companies have emerged to run these services in the South, including the popular Judicial Correction Services (JCS).

Read More…

Sad…..very sad…..that a country as modern and up-to-date would resort to this type of thing……but I guess anything is possible when profit is the only worthwhile goal to pursue…..

4 thoughts on “Debtor’s Prison

  1. We talk a lot about your (the US’s) absurd For-Profit Medical system, yet your For-Profit Prison system is as ludicrous. I’m afraid to say, but something serious has to give in the US. You can’t run a country like this.

    1. John, you are right but we will have to go through another cycle of elections before it all starts sinking in….2016 may be the saving grace…..

      1. I’m afraid it will take more than another election cycle Chuq. It will take a revolution and a renaissance in democratic principles.

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