Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tell Your Lawmakers: Shut Down The New Debtors' Prisons


Americans are in more debt than ever before, and the banks are going to new extremes to squeeze us for every last penny: If you can't pay up, they'll try to get you locked up.

The Wall Street Journal has been investigating the disturbing resurgence of debtors' prisons throughout America -- here's one especially infuriating example of what the banks are up to: AIG got a $122.8 billion bailout from taxpayers. Jeffrey Stearns happened owed AIG $4,000 on a loan for his pickup truck. How'd the mega-corporation handle his debt? Did they forgive him because of the public's recent largess? No way: They had him arrested in front of his family.

After being handcuffed in front of his four children, Mr. Stearns, 29 years old, spent two nights in jail, where he said he was strip-searched and sprayed for lice. "I didn't even know I was being sued....It's the scariest thing that ever happened to me."

The Wall Street Journal's data reveals that across the country, banks are having tens of thousands of Americans arrested over their debts. What happened to Stearns could happen to almost anybody. Some state legislators are moving to outlaw the practice. Will you urge your lawmakers to join them? (read more)