As if life wasn't already tense enough for Americans who can't pay their debts, collection agencies are now taking advantage of archaic state laws to have some debtors arrested and sent to jail.
More than one-third of US states allow debtors to be arrested and jailed, says Jessica Silver-Greenberg in the Wall Street Journal.
Judges typically grant arrest warrants when the debtors have failed to show up for court dates or failed to make court-ordered payments.
Of course, the reason debtors have failed to make court-ordered payments is often the same reason they didn't pay their debts in the first place: They don't have any money.
In September, a 53 year-old woman named Vivian Joy was stopped for a broken tail-light in Champaign, Illinois. And then, because the cops discovered that she still hadn't paid $2,200 to a collection agency, she was cuffed and carted off to jail.
She doesn't have any money.
Jailing debtors for not paying their debts is apparently especially popular in Illinois.
(This practice, needless to say, is preposterous. If people can't pay their debts and have no prospect of being able to pay their debts, they should declare bankruptcy. And the debts should be written off. Companies don't go to jail when they default. Neither should people.)