Weekly Alec Update


Alec Karakatsanis has yet another new debtor’s prison lawsuit, this time in Jackson, Mississippi. I think David Menschel tweets it well:

Badass lawyer sues yet another jurisdiction – this time Jackson, MS – over modern-day debtors’ prisons.

No person has done more to address modern-day debtors prisons than . Working at a ferocious pace. And getting amazing results.

Crazy facts in this Jackson, MS debtors’ prison lawsuit. (p. 4 onward). They throw poorest, disabled people in jail.

Here’s the beginning of the complaint:

The Plaintiffs in this case are impoverished people who were incarcerated by the Defendant City of Jackson, Mississippi (“the City”) because they were unable to pay debts allegedly owed to the City for traffic violations and other misdemeanor offenses. In each case, the City required the Plaintiff to pay all (or a large part) of his debt immediately or be incarcerated at the Hinds County Jail or the Hinds County Penal Farm.1 In the language of the City’s municipal court, the Plaintiffs were ordered to “pay or stay.” Due to their poverty, the Plaintiffs were unable to pay the amounts of money demanded by the City and thus were required to stay in jail. None of the Plaintiffs were afforded the inquiry into their ability to pay that is required by the United States Constitution and Mississippi law. Once incarcerated, the Plaintiffs were told that they could “work off’ their fines at the rate of $58.00 per day, while those who were unable to work were told that they must “sit out” their fines at the rate of $25.00 per day.

Read the full complaint here: Bell_complaint

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