” The Colorado chapter of the ACLU recently accused three Front Range cities of jailing people for failing to pay court-ordered fines that they could not afford. According to the organization, municipal courts in Westminster, Wheat Ridge and Northglenn, routinely issue“pay-or-serve” warrants without consideration for a debtor’s ability to pay.
“ These ‘pay-or-serve’ warrants return Colorado to the days of debtors’ prisons, which were abolished long ago,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU legal director. “Jailing poor people for fines they cannot pay violates the Constitution and punishes poor people just for being poor. It also wastes taxpayer resources, crowds the jails, and doesn’t get the fines paid.”
In reporting on the Colorado towns, ACLU noted that the Jefferson County Jail imprisoned at least 154 people on pay-or-serve warrants between February and June 2013. The organization deducts that 973 days were…
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