Petition Closed
Petitioning Your Governor

Tell Your State to Squash the Resurgence of Debtors Prisons

Debtors prisons were outlawed in 1833 for a reason. The poor do not deserve to be imprisoned simply because they are poor.

In the last few years, several states have seen a rise in the number of people arrested and jailed simply because of debt (or, more officially, for contempt of court for missing a hearing with a debt collector.) But how often these arrests are made varies largely by state, depending on availability of law enforcement and courts.

One way we can curb this problem: require law enforcement officials to let debtors fill out financial disclosure forms when they are apprehended rather than book them directly into jail. Ask your state legislators to enact tougher laws against debt collectors' ability to prey on the poor.

No one should be penalized by the judicial system for their debts.

Photo credit: Lew57

Letter to
Your Governor
In many states, it is still legal for debt collection agencies to pursue arrest warrants against debtors. When debtors fail to appear in court, warrants are issued for their arrest. But as we all know, people in debt are often poor. The poor do not always have the means to appear in court — assuming they even understand that a simple overdue credit card bill could end in a warrant for their arrest, or that a civil warrant has been issued in the first place.

These arrests and incarcerations are not only unfair to individuals; they tax an already overburdened system and cost more than many collectors are even able to procure — at taxpayer expense, no less. I strongly urge you to require law enforcement officials to let debtors fill out financial disclosure forms when they are apprehended rather than book them directly into jail. This remedy will relieve the system and put an end to a so-called modern day 'debtors' prison.

Please protect individuals' rights and save taxpayer dollars. It's a winning combination.