Forced laborers sue Mississippi's debtors' prison


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Mississippi =/= Missouri.


For some odd reason, every time I read about the judicial and penal system of the United States, in an almost Pavlovian reaction I start to hum the last line of their national anthem.


… referring to the guards, of course, who put their lives on the line every day.


Take that, Abraham Lincoln!


Given the state of the Mississippi educational system, this is probably all introduction to Dickens that you get.


Misery loves Missouri.


As illegal as this is, sending people to jail or prison for inability to pay fines has been on a rapid increase over the last 5 or so years. Often, as is the case in Michigan, the defendant will find him/herself racking up further fines and “fees” for taking up space in the jail making it impossible to get out unless they can convince a relative or good friend to sell something valuable. If the plaintiffs in this case are successful, it will make it easier for other people in other states to do the same.


What a remarkable display of financial acumen. If you can’t afford to pay us we will waste even more money incarcerating you.


Well, extrapolating from the most dismal of trends in the U.S.— the increase in mass shootings, militarization of police forces, Onion-esque levels of sociopathy among the right, rising income disparity enabled by laws making poverty a borderline-crime —yes, I suppose on a long enough timeline of such a future the U.S. will prove itself to remain the home of the brave, as only the brave will be willing to stay there.


It is getting just as bad in the UK.
The DWP (that deals with benefits) frequently suspends or fails to pay them with little reason. The result is that the people concerned (often disabled or with small children) cannot afford to keep up the monthly payments on their local (council) tax which is collected by [outsourcing company]. So when they miss a payment [outsourcing company] demands the entire balance at once. Which they don’t have. So [outsourcing company] (a for-profit organisation) then send in the bailiffs (which they own), confiscate property and then charge extra for sending in the bailiffs. The original debt of maybe £150 has now turned, potentially, into the loss of several thousand pounds worth of property.
Since a lot of the stuff they confiscate will either have been paid for out of taxes or charities, a for-profit organisation is basically set up to destroy value (because stuff is sold off cheap) and yet profit from it.
And people wonder why I get upset by fascism masquerading as conservatism. (I don’t mind paternalistic conservatism, but this corporatism is, frankly, evil.)

Edited to remove name of litigious outsourcing company.


Don’t worry, the market will regulate itself! If people don’t like this, it will go away as a natural byproduct of the market correcting itself. Popular products flourish and unpopular ones fail.

Yay Capitalism!


And Mississippi, too, apparently!


The 13th amendment is broken. Forced labor should not exist.


MI = Michigan


Suuuuuuure… let’s go with that.


True, that’s another typo, but the article is about Jackson, Mississippi.


I know I always pronounce it Misery… may I never have to move back.


You have my permission to never set foot in that “Misery” again.


You mean that maybe they shouldn’t have added that “It’s totally cool to enslave someone for a crime.” bit?