In jail for being in debt? The article says people are, at least de facto, being jailed for debt. Last year someone told me this had happened to them. The circumstances called for sympathy, but I was privately skeptical, thinking that didn’t happen in America. I assumed there was more to the story that the person wasn’t telling. Maybe I was being told the simple truth. Maybe we all assume unconsciously that life is pretty much the same for all of us. Living at a higher social stratum, it’s easy to be ignorant of how things work for others.
“Many debtors…get a second surprise after being arrested — their bail is exactly the amount of money owed. … If friends or family post a debtor’s bail, they can expect to kiss the money goodbye, because it often ends up with creditors, who routinely ask judges for the bail payment.”
UPDATE 3 July 2010: More discussion at Jailed for Debt
UPDATE 23 November 2011: Jailing debtors for not paying their debts is apparently especially popular in Illinois.