New Attorney General Fights Debtors' Prisons

Eric Schmitt was barely sworn in as Attorney General when he filed an amicus brief in the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of a man trying to end the practice of modern-day debtors' prisons. "Courts should not be using the threat of jail time to generate funds for bloated big government budgets when other means exit," Schmitt wrote.

In December, the Western District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the practice of collecting board bills for jail time is illegal. The case has been fast-tracked to the Missouri Supreme Court where, if the ruling stands, it means judges can no longer threaten defendants with jail time if they can't pay their board bills. 

The issue of imprisoning people when they cannot pay their jail fees has been highlighted in recent months in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It has also caught the attention ofRepresentative Bruce DeGroot (R-Chesterfield) who has filed legislation (HB 192) on the debtors' prison issue.

January 15, 2019 - 4:12pm
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