Debtors Prisons

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.

For-Profit Companies Are Helping to Put People In Jail for Being Poor. I Should Know, I Was One of Them.

For-Profit Companies Are Helping to Put People In Jail for Being Poor. I Should Know, I Was One of Them.

By Kevin Thompson at 10:50am
In December, I was jailed for five days simply because I couldn't afford to pay $838 in traffic fines and fees to DeKalb County and a private probation company called Judicial Correction Services, Inc.
WTF? Our Tax Dollars Are Being Spent to Jail a Vet for Being Poor

WTF? Our Tax Dollars Are Being Spent to Jail a Vet for Being Poor

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project at 8:10pm

After he returned from Iraq both homeless and out of work, Stephan Papa spent one night in a drunken misadventure. Convicted of destruction of property and resisting arrest, Mr. Papa was sentenced to pay $2600 in fines and court fees.

If Mr.…

A Lesson From Ferguson: Driving While Black Leads to Jailed for Being Poor

A Lesson From Ferguson: Driving While Black Leads to Jailed for Being Poor

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:24pm

The tragic killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August has brought much needed attention to the epidemic of racialized policing in America. In Ferguson and cities throughout the country, police stop, search, and arrest black…

The DOJ Ferguson Report Isn’t Just an Indictment of Ferguson Police, but of American Policing Writ Large

The DOJ Ferguson Report Isn’t Just an Indictment of Ferguson Police, but of American Policing Writ Large

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 11:16am

What the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division uncovered in Ferguson – racially biased policing on steroids, encouraged by a court system whose budget was dependent on the extortion of its city's residents – isn't just a dark look into an…

Poverty Is Not a Crime, Whether You Live in DeKalb County or Ferguson or Anywhere Else

Poverty Is Not a Crime, Whether You Live in DeKalb County or Ferguson or Anywhere Else

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 4:42pm

Kevin Thompson, a black teenager in Georgia, was jailed for five days in December 2014 because he could not afford to pay court-ordered fines and company fees related to a traffic ticket.

In January, the ACLU, the ACLU of Georgia, and the Southern…

Statistics image