The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a story about the return of debtors' prison in Minnesota and other states, well not actually debtor's prison but certainly incarceration for owing money and not making, in some cases court-ordered payments. The following lengthy excerpt is from Chris Serres and Glenn Howatt's terrific article:
"It's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.
Over the last couple of decades credit card companies and banks made it increasingly difficult to discharge debt in bankruptcy. These debt collection practices resulting in incarceration directly stem from those bankruptcy "reforms" of the system, with banks and credit card companies selling their bad debt to debt collection rackets. These operators utilize what amounts to legalized "extortion" to generate revenues.
Let me make a further allusion to the Talmud, the "oral law" which by tradition was "received" by Moses. Financial obligation is supposed to expire every 7th year. The idea seems to me to be designed to allow a functioning economy, predictability and decency. With debtors' imprisonment, we are moving backwards.