Debtors Prison | Poor Land in Jail as Private Companies Add Huge Fees on Unpaid Debts

“These companies are bill collectors, but they are given the authority to say to someone that if he doesn’t pay, he is going to jail”


Poor Land in Jail as Companies Add Huge Fees for Probation

CHILDERSBURG, Ala. — Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked.

When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.

For that driving offense, Ms. Ray has been locked up three times for a total of 40 days and owes $3,170, much of it to the probation company. Her story, in hardscrabble, rural Alabama, where Krispy Kreme promises that “two can dine for $5.99,” is not about innocence.

It is, rather, about the mushrooming of fines and fees levied by money-starved towns across the country and the for-profit businesses that administer the system. The result is that growing numbers of poor people, like Ms. Ray, are ending up jailed and in debt for minor infractions.

Rest from the NY Times here..


2 Responses to “Debtors Prison | Poor Land in Jail as Private Companies Add Huge Fees on Unpaid Debts”
  1. USA the # 1 country with most people in prison, which means that the USA is imprisoning its citizens at records high, a lot more than China and Iran combine, what a disgrace !

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