When Did Being Poor Become a Crime or Character Flaw?

Debtors' prison of the 21st century?

Jailers of the 19th century — even in the pre-Civil War South — largely abandoned the practice of imprisoning people for falling into debt as counterproductive and ultimately barbaric. In the 1970s and ’80s, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that incarcerating people who can’t pay fines because of poverty violates the U.S. Constitution.

Welcome to the debtors’ prisons of the 21st century.

Apparently, though, some states and county jails never got the memo. Welcome to the debtors’ prisons of the 21st century.

“Edwina Nowlin, a poor Michigan resident, was ordered to reimburse a juvenile detention center $104 a month for holding her 16-year-old son,” the New York Times wrote in an editorial.

“When she explained to the court that she could not afford to pay, Ms. Nowlin was sent to prison. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which helped get her out last week after she spent 28 days behind bars, says it is seeing more people being sent to jail because they cannot make various court-ordered payments. That is both barbaric and unconstitutional.”

via Inforwards.com:  Guilty of Being Poor

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