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Debtors' Prisons Making a Comback?

Vector: Daniel


It's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

Not every warrant results in an arrest, but in Minnesota many debtors spend up to 48 hours in cells with criminals. Consumer attorneys say such arrests are increasing in many states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Washington, driven by a bad economy, high consumer debt and a growing industry that buys bad debts and employs every means available to collect.

link: http://www.startribune.com/local/95692619.html

Later in the article we learn:

Taxpayers foot the bill for arresting and jailing debtors. In many cases, Minnesota judges set bail at the amount owed.

In Minnesota, judges have issued arrest warrants for people who owe as little as $85 -- less than half the cost of housing an inmate overnight. Debtors targeted for arrest owed a median of $3,512 in 2009, up from $2,201 five years ago.

So debt collection businesses have got judges spending tax dollars to collect private debts. I'm reminded of the story about the judge who got caught taking payments from a private correctional facility in exchange for sentencing juveniles convicted of extremely minor offense to a for-profit juvenile facility.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)

And look at this fine predictive programming re; the scram bracelet, they're practically a fashion accessory. The costs add up fast on this kind of electronic prison that's being set up. The courts still get the money and you don't have to feed or house the slaves.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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