Would you believe that in modern day America people are being incarcerated for being too poor to pay fines even though debtors’ prisons were outlawed in the U.S. in 1833?
The practice was still so prevalent, even after being outlawed, that the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the issue 30 years ago, ruling that judges couldn’t send people to jail for simply being too poor to pay fines.
Nonetheless, some courts continue to engage in nefarious revenue generating schemes with for-profit probation companies that violate the Supreme Court ruling and continue the ugly tradition of debtors’ prisons. Check out this excellent video about it from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Across the country, in the face of mounting budget deficits, states are more aggressively going after poor people who have already served their criminal sentences and jailing them for failing to pay their legal debts. These modern-day debtors’ prisons impose devastating human costs, waste taxpayer money and resources, undermine our criminal justice system, are racially skewed, and create a two-tiered system of justice.
Kevin’s Story can be found at this link.
If you think the practice of locking people up because they are too poor to pay fines needs to end, then share this story with a friend and help awaken them to this archaic punishment that continues to take place.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.