Our nation has taken yet another giant step backwards with the criminalization of poverty.
How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."
Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.
Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can't pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate.
Illinois isn't the only state locking up residents for being too poor to pay their bills. A report from the ACLU found that Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington were also doing this, and at "increasingly alarming rates."
A report from the New York University's Brennan Center for Justice found that states are also adding "poverty penalties," including late fees, payment plan fees, and interest:
Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender.
Being denied a public defender seems to me would be a violation of the Constitution, but I'm no law expert. Any of you legal eagles want to weigh in?
Hope and change is coming for you.Â Hope and change has happend alright. Is this what you really wanted no matter what political side you are on.
Does the proof fit the pudding now,Â does it matter if your black or white now, does it matter if your Hispanic ,Â this is prevailing the rest of how America is going.
If we do not get this President out of here we are going to be living a life of " Hitler" and the days people were lead to the gas champers.
Americans are so spoiled they just think it's not possible, but with the perfect storm,Â the tide will be just right for dumbed down Americans to fall for everything this President says.
We must come together as one, and not side with a dictator who everyone knows is either losing it, or trying to give the Country some excitement.
According to this article it looks like a lot of people are going to be in jail, with the economy the way it is, homes being lost etc,Â what part of America won't be in jail.
This country has been turned up side down buy our drug runner President ,Â he should have stuck to drugs, I think he succeeded a bit better,Â it comes more natural to fk over those who buy drugs from you or sell them.
All I can say is we better wake up, and get this administration the hell out of office.