Lexington Jail is a Debtors Prison, ACLU Lawsuit Claims

The civil liberties group has brought the lawsuit against the jail.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina county is accused of violating constitutional rights of people who can't afford to pay fines and fees for low-level offenses, landing them in jail for weeks on end.

A lawsuit filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union accuses Lexington County of throwing people who can't pay misdemeanor court costs into a modern-day debtors' prison.

The suit was filed on behalf of five people, although the ACLU is seeking class-action status.

The named plaintiffs spent as much as two months in jail because they couldn't pay their fines and fees. One woman was jailed for three weeks over unpaid court costs of $647.

The ACLU says a decades-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling says courts must consider people's ability to pay fines before jailing them due to nonpayment.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories