debtors prisons

JOSEPH SHAPIRO / NPR

In Georgia, county courts have contracted with private probation companies to collect fines from offenders. People are sometimes jailed for not being able to pay, even though the Supreme Court outlawed debtors’ prisons some 35 years ago. In the last couple of years, Georgia law changes made it harder for private probation companies to operate. What happens now to people who don’t pay the fines?

Joseph Shapiro / NPR

A class-action lawsuit filed last week alleges 13 cities in St. Louis County, Missouri put people behind bars because they couldn't afford to pay court fines. The fines included tickets for minor offenses like traffic violations. The Arch City Defenders is the nonprofit law firm behind the suit.