The Spokesman-Review

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Shame in our backyard

“Debt to society” (May 24) was a real revelation. Weren’t debtors’ prisons one of the reasons that our ancestors left their “old” countries and migrated to the new land? It is hard to imagine that we have such a thing right in our backyard.

Poverty is one reason that people commit crimes. The poor are the ones that go to prison to pay for their offenses. The indigent are unable to pay prosecution costs, juror costs, crime lab fees, extradition costs, court fees, fines, restitution, all topped off with a 12 percent interest fee.

President Obama signing a law to curtail increasing interest rates and fees imposed by credit cards should catch up to Washington state who charges the incarcerated 12 percent. Upon release, still vulnerable and poor, they are sent back to prison when they cannot pay, the crime being indebtedness.

In today’s economy, it would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. With people losing their jobs, losing their homes and mounting up horrific credit card debts just to live, can we condone the incarceration of any group of people just because they are unable to pay? Shame on us!

Shirley White

Spokane



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