Colorado Springs admits it ran debtors prisons, coughs up $100K to victims

by Corey Hutchins  |  published on May 6, 2016

People too poor to pay fines will no longer work off their debts by sitting in Colorado Springs jail cells, and the city will pay thousands to those who were wrongly locked up.

That’s thanks to the ACLU of Colorado, who in October accused Colorado’s second-largest city of running modern-day debtors prisons, a practice declared unconstitutional by the Colorado and United States Supreme Courts.

In Colorado Springs, it worked like this: When the court fined someone for violating a minor, non-jailable city ordinance, the court converted the fine into a jail sentence when the defendant didn’t pay.

The state’s ACLU chapter had spent a month or so investigating last year and found hundreds of cases where defendants had their fines converted to jail sentences; the majority of them were for non-jailable offenses.

  • AKLady2015

    There is new law in America, it goes something like this: Guilty until proven innocent. Also, being dirt poor is now a high crime and misdemeanor.

  • edorr1atcoxdotnet

    If they can’t pay the fine, then work it off doing civil service and if they refuse then let them spend 30 days locked up for every $100 they can’t pay. I agree MKosmas2012 the ACLU (AMERICAN COMMUNIST LOVERS UNION) is bad for the country.

    • AKLady2015

      Who else is going to enforce thw 5th Amendment for the poor?

  • MKosmas2012

    The ACLU is the worse thing to happen to the US….Does anyone know who’s behind them?????

    • AKLady2015

      The American people who firmly believe in “justice for all”.

  • Wolfman

    I think debtors prison is ridiculously wrong. I also think giving a homeless panhandler 11K for what.. damages to his ability to make a living begging for money, is ridiculous. I believe there needs to be some sort of reasonable penalty that matches the crime….and that the taxpayer should not be responsible for re-paying penalties accrued by incompetent City Officials. I’m not an Attorney and even I knew Debtor prisons are not allowed ….WTF is wrong with Government and people in general anymore.

  • Phil Esposito

    I thought they had a choice of doing community service if they couldn’t afford the fine.

    • AKLady2015

      You thought, apparently you thought wrong.
      A lot has changed with the bigots being put into power by the ignorant and selfish..

  • exoticdoc2

    So what? If you don’t pay the fine there needs to be some kind of penalty. You don’t want to end up in jail don’t commit the offense in the first place.

  • Roy F Wilt

    People wake the Hell up!!!!!!!!!!!! The people running our Country are turning it into a Police State!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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