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Subject Our Future In Chains: The For-Profit Debtors' Prison System
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Original Message Michael Edwards
Activist Post

Debtors' prisons have a sordid history that was thought to be best left behind in Medieval Europe and in Charles Dickens' fictionalized accounts of the 19th-century hellholes of Victorian England. America was not to be outdone, debtorsí prisons were widespread in the United States as well, and stories of the conditions in New York's debtorsí prisons could make one question if repayment of debts was really the purpose; violent criminals were much better clothed and fed. In fact, history shows that terror and slavery have always had a close relationship with debt, and it follows a path from the Romans right through to 17th century England, and into America from English common law. However, America chose to abolish her debtorsí prisons a full 36 years before England; first in New York in 1831, and by 1833 the rest of the America had followed.(1)

Now, debtors' prisons seem to be making a comeback in America. A recent article in the Star Tribune in Minnesota titled, "In jail for being in debt," exposes the growing number of citizens going to jail at the behest of banks and a welcoming judicial system. They write:

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