'Long thought to be a relic of the 19th Century,
The sentences of five Michigan residents who were locked up by judges because they were too poor to pay their misdemeanor tickets are being challenged by the ACLU of Michigan.
debtors’ prisons are still alive and well'
In each case, the ACLU said, the judges failed to give the defendants the option of paying their fines in installments or being sentenced to perform community service.
“Long thought to be a relic of the 19th Century, debtors’ prisons are still alive and well in Michigan,” Michigan ACLU director Kary Moss said in announcing the legal challenges. “Jailing our clients because they are poor is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable and a shameful waste of resources.”
Read the Detroit Free Press report here. And read more about each of the defendants and see the motions fled by the ACLU here.
Related: Barbara Ehrenrich asks "Since When Is It a Crime to Be Poor?"