Although no crime was committed, Minnesotans and other people across America are being locked up because they owe money to some corporation. This is another example of our emerging corporatocracy Where the power of the state is just another tool for business.
The Star Tribune has published an investigative piece about the return of debtors’ prisons, “In jail for being in debt“.
It’s not a crime to owe money, and debtors’ prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.
Here is what is happening now to people who fall behind in paying their bills. Joy Uhlmeyer, for example, is a 57-year-old patient care advocate. She was arrested by a sheriff’s deputy and no one would tell her why, despite her pleas.
Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense — missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt.
“They have no right to do this to me… Not for a stupid credit card.”
Uhlmeyer ‘crime?’ She “defaulted on a $6,200 Chase credit card after a costly divorce in 2006.” She ignored the collection agency because she “didn’t recognize the name”.