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Tags: mississippi | prison debt | marshall project

Mississippi Only State to Imprison Over Unpaid Debt

Mississippi's state flag is shown on a flag pole.

By    |   Thursday, 09 January 2020 03:17 PM EST

Mississippi remains the only state in the country that imprisons people for having outstanding debt and make them work to pay it off, in what The Marshall Project describes as a modern-day debtor’s prison.

Annita Husband told the Marshall Project that she was sentenced to Fleetwood Restitution Center to pay off about $13,000 in debt that she owed after being convicted of embezzlement in 2009. She was only allowed to leave the center to work at a part-time job earning $7.25 an hour to pay off her debts and cover “room and board” at the center for $11 per day.

“If I wasn’t at work, I was in prison,” she said.

“We don’t know of any other states that have a program quite like Mississippi’s,” Sharon Brett, a senior staff attorney working in Harvard’s Criminal Justice Policy Program, told the Marshall Project.

According to government records researched by the Marshall Project and Mississippi Today, every year hundreds of people in the state are sentenced to restitution centers where they are ordered to stay until they have paid off their debts, including court fees, fines and victims’ restitution. About half of the people in these centers owed less than $3,515, and many did not need to pay restitution, just court fees and fines. Black people are much more likely to be sentenced to a restitution center, making up about half of inmates.

“Debtors prisons are an effective way of collecting money — as is kidnapping,” said Cliff Johnson, the director of the University of Mississippi’s MacArthur Justice Center. “But there are constitutional, public policy and moral barriers to such a regime.”

Theodore Bunker

Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Mississippi remains the only state in the country that imprisons people for having outstanding debt and make them work to pay it off, in what The Marshall Project describes as a modern-day debtor’s prison.
mississippi, prison debt, marshall project
269
2020-17-09
Thursday, 09 January 2020 03:17 PM
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