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Fri Apr 20, 2012, 05:33 PM

Jailed for $280: The return of debtors' prisons [View all]

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500395_162-57417654/jailed-for-$280-the-return-of-debtors-prisons/

(MoneyWatch) How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."

Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.

snip

Yet Illinois isn't the only state where residents get locked up for owing money. A 2010 report by the American Civil Liberties Union that focused on only five states -- Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington -- found that people were being jailed at "increasingly alarming rates" over legal debts. Cases ranged from a woman who was arrested four separate times for failing to pay $251 in fines and court costs related to a fourth-degree misdemeanor conviction, to a mentally ill juvenile jailed by a judge over a previous conviction for stealing school supplies.

more at link.

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Reply Jailed for $280: The return of debtors' prisons [View all]
myrna minx Apr 2012 OP
Liberal_in_LA Apr 2012 #1
Little Star Apr 2012 #2
dixiegrrrrl Apr 2012 #18
saras Apr 2012 #22
bhikkhu Apr 2012 #31
happyslug Apr 2012 #38
bhikkhu Apr 2012 #48
stevenleser Apr 2012 #36
earth trine Apr 2012 #34
Egalitarian Thug Apr 2012 #3
BlueJazz Apr 2012 #4
myrna minx Apr 2012 #5
closeupready Apr 2012 #8
Justice wanted Apr 2012 #6
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