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Debtors’ Prisons Make a Comeback

Alex Kanebyline‚ Feb. 15‚ 2013

Across the U.S., debts to private companies are landing poor people in jail.

Kawana Young, a single mother of two kids, was arrested in Michigan after failing to pay money she owed as a result of minor traffic offenses. She was recently laid off from her job, and could not pay the fees she owed because she couldn’t find another source of employment. So a judge sentenced her to three days in jail. In addition, Young was charged additional fees for being booked and for room and board for a place she did not want to be. In total, she has been jailed five times for being unable to pay her debts.

“It doesn’t make sense to jail people when they can’t pay, because they definitely can’t pay while they’re in jail,” said Young.