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Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

June 21, 2016

A city court judge in Bogalusa, Louisiana, operated a modern-day debtors’ prison by illegally jailing indigent people unable to pay fines or court costs – ­including a man fined for stealing $5 worth of food to feed his family. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the unconstitutional...

Economic Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2015

The SPLC filed a judicial ethics complaint against Perry County (Alabama) Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins after he required people unable to pay court fines to either donate blood or go to jail.

The complaint described how Wiggins threatened defendants in his court with jail on Sept. 17,...

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

September 08, 2015

The city of Alexander City, Alabama, operated a modern-day debtors’ prison for at least a decade by arresting and jailing low-income people unable to pay their fines and court costs for traffic tickets and misdemeanors.

In a town where almost 30 percent of the population lives below the...

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

March 12, 2015

Judicial Correction Services (JCS), a private probation company, collected money from impoverished Alabamians by threatening them with jail when they fell behind on paying fines from traffic violations or other citations in the city of Clanton. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit accusing JCS of violating federal racketeering laws.

Economic Justice

Date Filed

July 23, 2014

The SPLC filed a federal class action lawsuit against Tennessee for Medicaid practices that deprived thousands of people of health care coverage despite eligibility. These policies resulted in some residents – including those with serious medical conditions – going needlessly without health care.

Economic Justice

Date Filed

August 28, 2013

Harriet Cleveland lost her job at a daycare during the height of the recession.  Unable to find steady work, Harriet tried to make ends meet by babysitting the children of friends and family and renting out rooms in her home. After doing everything she could, including pawning her car, Harriet ended up facing foreclosure and declared bankruptcy. During this time she had been unable to pay years old traffic tickets. In August, while babysitting her infant grandson, the Montgomery police came and arrested Harriet at her home. The Montgomery Municipal Court ordered her to serve 31 days in jail.

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