Report Accuses Texas Courts Of Running Debtors’ Prison
HOUSTON (AP) — A report by the American Civil Liberties Union says many municipal courts in Texas unfairly jail poor defendants who can't pay fines related to traffic tickets and fail to consider their ability to pay such fines or to consider alternatives such as community service to resolve their cases.
The report comes after the ACLU of Texas filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the southeast Texas city of Santa Fe, accusing it of running a modern-day debtors' prison.
Officials with the Texas Judicial Council and the Texas Municipal Courts Association say they are aware of problems associated with poor defendants not being able to pay fines and court costs.
They say they're hoping to work with lawmakers during next year's legislative session to tackle some of these issues.