Failure to pay restitution and other court debts is considered a parole violation in several states throughout the nation. In Washington, authorities issue warrants for the person’s arrest and frequently put those people in jail. “It’s a modern day debtor’s prison,” said Spokane County Public Defender John Rogers.
On any given day – out of an average of 1,177 inmates at Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center – 60 to 200 people are behind bars for failing to pay court fees and fines. Meanwhile, Spokane County officials are planning to ask voters later this year or next to approve a property tax increase to build a new jail.