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Bains writes: "Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions retracted an Obama-era guidance to state courts that was meant to end debtors' prisons, where people who are too poor to pay fines are sent. This practice is blatantly unconstitutional, and the guidance had helped jump-start reform around the country. Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the federal government is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (photo: AP)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (photo: AP)


Jeff Sessions Says to Courts: Go Ahead, Jail People Because They're Poor

By Chiraag Bains, The New York Times

28 December 17

 

ast week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions retracted an Obama-era guidance to state courts that was meant to end debtors’ prisons, where people who are too poor to pay fines are sent. This practice is blatantly unconstitutional, and the guidance had helped jump-start reform around the country. Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the federal government is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us.

The Justice Department helped shine a light on the harms of fine and fees when it investigated Ferguson, Mo., three years ago after the killing of the teenager Michael Brown by a police officer. As one of the lawyers on that case, I saw firsthand the damage that the city had wrought on its black community.

Ferguson used its criminal justice system as a for-profit enterprise, extracting millions from its poorest citizens. Internal emails revealed the head of finance directing policing strategy to maximize revenue rather than ensure public safety. Officers told us they were pressured to issue as many tickets as possible.


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+5 # chrisconno 2017-12-29 01:05
Oh Yeah! Let's make america great again. What a crock of s**t. Those damned racists are having so much fun being creepy. How do these people sleep? How do they look themselves in the mirror? How are we going to be shed these festering pustules on humanity and get back to the business of being decent???
 
 
+2 # Caliban 2017-12-29 12:54
A matter of fact and expression: why not write "Its withdrawal is the latest sign that the Trump administration is retreating from protecting civil rights for the most vulnerable among us" instead of using the imprecise allusion to the "federal government" - a phrase that ignores the crucial fact that one administrations government is not the same as another's.
 
 
0 # elizabethblock 2017-12-30 23:10
Well, doh. If you don't tax the citizens who can afford to pay taxes, you have to get the money from somewhere, and "somewhere" means people who cannot defend themselves.
 

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