(Silver-Greenberg 2011) Welcome to debtors’ prison, 2011 edition

Silver-Greenberg, Jessica. Welcome to debtors’ prison, 2011 edition [Internet]. Wall Street Journal. 2011 Mar 17. Available from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704396504576204553811636610.html. Accessed 2012 Mar 4. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/65uMjrFuS.

Silver-Greenberg reports that thousands of arrest warrants for failure to pay debts have been issued in the USA — over five thousand in the first three months of 2011 in just nine counties where statistics were available (in most counties, they are not). More than a third of U.S. states allow such warrants to be issued. These warrants do not always result in actual imprisonments, but are used to coerce payment. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating the practice, and several states have moved to curb it. At least one large debt-collection firm has renounced the use of arrest warrants because it was damaging the company’s public image.


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