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    US financial crisis taking toll on people

    Civil liberties advocates say about 33 percent of US states jail people for not paying off their debts. Alabama, Florida and Ohio are three of the most costly states to be poor in. And according to a recent poll, Washington, DC is the country's most

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US financial crisis taking toll on people - Press TV



Civil liberties advocates say about 33 percent of US states jail people for not paying off their debts. Alabama, Florida and Ohio are three of the most costly states to be poor in. And according to a recent poll, Washington, DC is the country’s most expensive city to live in.

Megan Sharp is a mother of 3 children. She was jailed in Ohio for nearly two weeks for failing to pay $540 in fines for driving with a suspended license.

The irony is that the state actually lost money on Sharp’s case because the total cost of arresting and jailing Sharp was almost $1,000. But cases like Sharp’s are becoming more common as many Americans are finding it more difficult to pay their bills in a soft economy.

Some Florida counties use collection courts, where debtors can be thrown in jail with no right to a public defender. And in North Carolina, people can be charged for using a public defender in collection courts, so many poor defendants don't have legal counsel.

Experts often use the analogy getting blood from a stone when the states collect money from individuals who are already suffering from financial hardship. And what started out as a small debt ends up just getting bigger. >