It sounds like something from the Victorian England of Dickens, not modern Ohio. People going to jail because they can not pay their debts.
The American Civil Liberties Union has documented how it is happening now, in America.
The ACLU of Ohio discovered some form of the practice of imprisoning debtors in at least seven of the 11 counties it examined. In some cases, the debts were as small as a few hundred dollars.
“The use of debtors’ prison is an outdated and destructive practice that has wreaked havoc upon the lives of those profiled in this report and thousands of others throughout Ohio,” the report says.
The ACLU did a study in 2010 revealing the use of debtors prison practices in five states, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia and Washington. That led to a comprehensive study by the ACLU of Ohio, released just this month, on the widespread practice of jailing people for debt.
Thousands of poor Ohioans face the prospect of incarceration, according to the study, even though imprisoning someone for a debt that person can not pay is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution, a 1983 United States Supreme Court decision (declaring this practice to be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution), the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio Revised Code and numerous decisions by the Ohio Supreme Court.
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