You thought debtor prison was unconstitutional? | Arkansas Blog

You thought debtor prison was unconstitutional?

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Welcome to Alabama. (And, perhaps, who knows? There might be Arkansas towns piling up ever-increasing fines and fees on misdemeanor violators that they can't pay.)

In a 2010 study, the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law examined the fee structure in the 15 states — including California, Florida and Texas — with the largest prison populations. It asserted: “Many states are imposing new and often onerous ‘user fees’ on individuals with criminal convictions. Yet far from being easy money, these fees impose severe — and often hidden — costs on communities, taxpayers and indigent people convicted of crimes. They create new paths to prison for those unable to pay their debts and make it harder to find employment and housing as well as to meet child support obligations.”

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