Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons: Race and Revenue Generation in Courts Across America.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

4:30–6:00 p.m.

doors open, 4 p.m.

Hiebert Lounge
72 East Concord Street



More than Concepts, a Lived Reality

Prison Without Bars

Fines to Fit the Crime–and the Person

Nearly two centuries ago, the United States formally abolished the incarceration of people who failed to pay off debts. Yet, recent years have witnessed the rise of modern-day debtors’ prisons—the jailing of poor people for failure to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford—along with other draconian sanctions imposed on poor and low-income people who cannot pay fines and fees to courts. The ACLU Racial Justice Program and allies across the country are bringing lawsuits and advocacy to expose and challenge these practices. This talk will explore how modern-day debtors’ prisons push people—predominantly people of color—into cycles of poverty, debt, and the criminal legal system and will examine promising solutions.


Nusrat Choudhury, Deputy Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program

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