Let's Hope New Law Puts an End to Debtors' Prisons in Texas

We've systematically set up a bunch of debtors' prisons around the state by jailing people who can't pay fees and fines for misdemeanor offenses.It may look like just another Catch-22, a slight inconvenience put to bed as soon as the scofflaw pays up.But it's a sucker punch to many working-class folks, who sometimes lose their jobs or can't get their driver's license or auto registration renewed because they can't come up with the money soon enough.That's why a new measure, Senate Bill 1913, that Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Thursday may be one of the best municipal court reforms to ever come down the pike in Texas.Under the law, which was sponsored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, judges would be required to offer options other than jail, including community service, waivers or an installment plan. It takes effect Sept. 1.  Continue reading...

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