Many Americans are serving weeks or months in jail simply because they are broke, despite a Supreme Court ruling that banned debtors prisons.
An investigation by National Public Radio (NPR) found that large numbers of Americans have been incarcerated because they lacked the cash to pay fines of as little as $25. In many cases, the involvement of courts only drove up their debt.
“They put me in jail for 10 days, and I just didn’t have the money,” Jared Thornburg said of police in Westminster, Colorado. Thornburg was jailed because he couldn’t cover a $306.25 fine for a traffic ticket. “They spent a lot more putting me in jail for 10 days than the amount I owed them.”
The offense that led to the fine and incarceration was making a wrong turn, Thornburg told The Denver Post. After being pulled over he was also cited…
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