“Guilty and Charged”

…is the catchy title of an NPR reporting series airing this week about the rise of new "debtors' prisons" as a result of state and local court practices across the country. According to the written summary of the story,

everyday, people go to jail because they failed to pay their court debts.

In Benton County, Washington, for example, jail records obtained by NPR and sampled over a four-month period in 2013, show that on a typical day, a quarter of the people who were in jail for misdemeanor offenses were there because they had failed to pay their court fines and fees.

We've blogged about the resurrection of debtors'-prison-style practices before (see, for instance, here and here). This week's NPR report sheds light on a more direct practice of jailing poor people who can't pay court fines and fees. Well worth a listen (see here for another installment of the report, and check out this fascinating graphic about court fees state-by-state).

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