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In Louisiana, Debtors Prisons Are Not a Thing of The Past

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ACLU of Louisiana

In 1883, the federal government banned debtors prisons in the United States. In 1972, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that "pay or stay" practices - which compel someone to pay a court fine on the spot or be jailed - were also illegal. In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people can only be jailed for refusing to pay court fines, not for being too poor to do so.

However, according to a recent report by the ACLU of Louisiana, these practices are still happening today.

Marjorie Esman is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.