ACLU challenges modern-day debtors’ prison practice in Georgia

We blogged last year about courts that send people to jail for their inability to pay their court debts.

Yesterday the ACLU sued DeKalb County, Ga., over this unconstitutional practice, undertaken in partnership with a private debt collection company. According to their press release, the ACLU charges that "DeKalb County and for-profit Judicial Correction Services Inc. (JCS) teamed up to engage in a coercive debt collection scheme that focuses on revenue generation at the expense of protecting poor people's rights." The release also notes the troubling racial implications: "While blacks make up 54 percent of the DeKalb County population, nearly all probationers jailed by the DeKalb County Recorders Court for failure to pay are black – a pattern replicated by other Georgia courts."

The plaintiff in the case was jailed for five days as a teenager for his inability to pay approximately $800 in fines and fees related to a traffic ticket.

You can read the full press release here and the complaint here.

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