Debtors’ Prison

It’s our duty to jailbreak people out of poverty, not jail them because of it.

From “National Panel Advises Judges On People Who Can’t Pay Court Fees,” by Joseph Shapiro, on NPR:

One man in the NPR series was homeless and got caught in Georgia stealing a can of beer worth less than two dollars, but ended up being sentenced to a year in jail when he couldn’t pay fines and costs that ran more than $400 a month.

[…] To try to change practices that put poor people in jail because they can’t pay court fines and fees or bail, the Justice Department last year announced it was giving out assistance grants to state and local courts. Now the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators — the two groups that brought together judges, court personnel, lawyers, academics and advocates to come up with the new task force guidelines — will sponsor similar grants to educate officials, from mayors to judges “to assure that no citizen is denied access to the justice system based on race, culture, or lack of economic resources.”

Good.

Advertisements