Jeff Sessions Bringing Back Debtors’ Prisons

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Millions of Americans are too poor for freedom. Ana Kasparian, Brett Erlich, and Maytha Alhassen, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

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“One day after President Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers to the White House to celebrate the historic tax cuts they passed for corporations and wealthy business leaders, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, quitely reinstated a draconian policy that effectively serves as a regressive tax on America’s poorest people.

A symbol of Victorian England’s inequitable nature made infamous by Charles Dickens, debtors’ prisons were banned in the United States in 1833. The Supreme Court has affirmed the unconstitutionality of jailing those too poor to pay debts on three different occasion in the last century, finding that the 14th Amendment prohibits incarceration for non-payment of exorbitant court-imposed fines or fees without an assessment of a person’s ability to pay and alternatives for those who cannot. “Punishing a person for his poverty” is illegal, the Court said.

Yet in recent years the modern-day equivalent of debtors’ prisons have returned, as cities have grown to rely on a punishing regime of fines and fees imposed on their own residents as a major stream of revenue.”*
Hosts: Ana Kasparian, Brett Erlich, Maytha Alhassen

Cast: Ana Kasparian, Brett Erlich, Maytha Alhassen


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Young Turk (n), 1. Young progressive or insurgent member of an institution, movement, or political party. 2. A young person who rebels against authority or societal expectations.(American Heritage Dictionary)

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