Too Poor to Pay Fines: Town Forced to “Pay $680K For Running Debtor’s Prison”

by | Mar 16, 2017 | Conspiracy Fact and Theory, Headline News | 62 comments

Do you LOVE America?



    This article was written by Jack Burns and originally published at The Free Thought Project.

    Editor’s Comment: The state has turned its people into serfs once again, and through petty fines and regulations, everyone has once again come under the thumb. For the corporeally liberated, it is primarily a form of debt servitude, but for the poorest, who have nothing left to lose, it can mean jail time, sometimes for literally nothing more than getting caught up in a system of bureaucracy and unable to fork over more and more money for the process.

    Town Busted Running “Debtor’s Prison” Must Pay $680K, Sheriff Told to Resign

    by Jack Burns

    Alexander, AL — The Southern Poverty Law Center has reached a $680,000 settlement in its lawsuit against the Alabama city of Alexander and its police chief Willie Robinson. The settlement was for depriving 190 of its residents their rights to due process (6th Amendment) and the unlawful seizure of their property (4th Amendment). Sheriff Robinson has even been asked to resign by lawyers representing their client.

    Each one of the 190 individuals will receive $500 cash from the city for jailing them for being too poor to pay the fines imposed on them by the town. As reported by, “Hundreds of impoverished residents have faced unconstitutional and unjust treatment in Alexander City simply because they were too poor to pay fines and fees,” said Sam Brooke, in a press release. Brooke is the SPLC’s deputy legal director. He added, “The shuttering of this modern-day debtors’ prison, along with the monetary award, brings justice to many of the people who were unfairly targeted for being poor.”

    The way the injustice flourished was as follows. A resident would receive a speeding ticket, for example. If they were unable to pay, they were arrested, taken to jail, and forced to remain there. While in jail, they would earn $20 a day for just being in jail, and $40 a day for doing laundry, cleaning, or washing police cruisers, until the total sum of the fine was paid in full. Each person was not allowed to go before a judge, nor to have a lawyer present to help in aid in their defense.

    “Around 30 percent of Alexander inhabitants live below the poverty line. Plaintiff Amanda Underwood is one such person, who was jailed twice for not being able to pay her fines. Underwood previously earned $8 an hour and has two young children, according to the SPLC release. After not being able to pay a fine of $205 for a traffic violation, Underwood had to borrow money to secure her release. On a separate occasion, Underwood was fined $250 for driving without a license. She spent five days in jail working off her debt.”

    What may have seemed like a quick way for the town to punish offenders — and settle long-standing fines, fees, and court costs — turned out to be a complete violation of Alexander’s residents’ civil rights. Underwood reveled in the victory saying, “I am glad the city is going to pay everyone who they jailed, to try to undo some of the harm they caused…I am so proud that this lawsuit has made a difference. I hope it will help many others, especially those like me who have been unfairly punished for being poor.”

    Brooke said Alexander’s settlement out of court is just the latest in a string of successful lawsuits in Alabama which have made a positive impact on civil rights. “Courts are being sued and forced to change their procedures, and judges have been censured and suspended,” Brooke said. “And now a municipality has been forced to pay those it illegally jailed. We hope and believe all courts are now getting the message: It is unacceptable to punish the poor just because of their poverty.”

    There’s very little difference between jailing someone to work off a fine, and selling one’s property to pay for such fines. One is a debtor’s prison and the other results in a debtor’s auction. In both cases, the police benefit from free labor and free revenue generation. Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF) has been used for years to punish citizens accused of crimes such as drunk driving, driving with too much cash on hand, or being in possession of marijuana. Hopefully, with wins such as what the SPLC has been able to achieve in Alabama, more progress can likewise be made in CAF cases across the country as well.

    This article was written by Jack Burns and originally published at The Free Thought Project.


    It Took 22 Years to Get to This Point

    Gold has been the right asset with which to save your funds in this millennium that began 23 years ago.

    Free Exclusive Report
    The inevitable Breakout – The two w’s

      Related Articles


      Join the conversation!

      It’s 100% free and your personal information will never be sold or shared online.


      1. ” driving with too much cash on hand ”

        That was never a problem until recently. Talk about unlawful search and seizure. If you have
        a gym bag full of 50’s and 100’s, Johnny Law wants to know all about it. If a warrant check
        on you is negative, they should hand you back your license and tell you to have a nice day.
        Think you are really free? Me thinks not.


          KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

          • Go back to your little island, Iron Crotch. Your sh@t gets old. You’re already outnumbered, so forget whining any more.



        • Mac:

          “Racism, to include any religious affiliation, will not be tolerated on this site, including the disparagement of people in the comments section.”

          Sure you dont wanna rethink your policy?

          Methinks all religious affiliation isnt commendable…

        • badges are REDCOATS!

      2. If the settlement was $680,000 and each of the 190 individuals that was locked up got $500 where did the other $585,000 go? Looks like someone made way to much profit while the one’s that suffered got screwed again.

        • Lawyer’s fees.
          Southern Poverty Law Center is a professional shakedown scam. They say they’re all concerned about the “poor” but that is just the excuse. This proves it.

        • Now we have a Winner! Give that man a silver dollar! Right on, where DID the money go methinks I smell some rats.
          Also ever notice the comments number they skip about 200 or so. Seems like many many comments don’t get posted! Wonder if this one makes the grade!?! Hmmmmmm

      3. Soooo if you’re poor you can break the, skip out of jail time and write off the ticket for just being poor?

        Hmmmmm I got this whole plan of mine all wrong.

        • no, you can’t skip out of jail, these folks never even got to see a judge. they were held captive by the sheriff who got off scott free. he should have 190 counts of kidnapping on his docket.

      4. so $587,000 went to blood sucking lawyers?

        • No the $587,000 went to JEW lawyers…The Southern Poverty Law Center is a jewish organization. They only care if they can sue for money…they are worth over $300,000,000. So if Cohen is southern and $300,000,000. is poverty then they are right on!

        • Court fines must be paid or the person will be picked up and returned to jail.

          It is a ‘catch 22’ situation for many people. Without a job, many struggle to pay the fines. But, many cannot have their record cleared and be eligible to work until their fines are paid. So, until the fines are paid, they cannot work.

          Those who break the law and do not have support from family, will face an uphill battle to get their life reestablished.

          According to a friend of mine who formerly worked at a jail, “If a prisoner in the jail has to have health care, she or he must pay that bill within 30 days – regardless of the amount.

          If they don’t, they are picked up and put back in jail. So, they have 30 day to get their life re-established: find a place to live, get a job, buy groceries, etc. … and pay off a bill that sometimes runs into the thousands of dollars.”

          Sentenced for Debt – The New Debtor Prisons

          “When, an individual is convicted of a crime, there are state required fees and court costs which the defendant must pay” or be picked up and returned to jail.

          ht tp://

      5. so this sounds like a win, but lets look closer they collect 680K and then the poor people get $500.00 each @ 190 people is $95K so WHERE does the rest of the money go? LAWYERS!! what a JOKE the lawyers should have done this probono and the 190 people should have split the 680K, we still have NO justice!! and of course the judge and sherriff should be in prison!! NOW that would be a moral, and justice served ending!!!!
        OUR countries justice system is a JOKE!! just like our politicians!!

        • Nobody ever WINS. There’s always catch. Been goin’ on since Moses was a ‘rag baby’.

          • PO’d Patriot,
            YOUR ABSOLUTELY correct and that is WHY it is time to stop the corruption!! all we need is for the SHEEPLE to stand up and sy NO-MORE, I guess that will be a cold day in hell before that would happen!! LOL, can always wish!!

          • The Southern Law Poverty Attys bagged the Legal Fees Haul. I had just read this article and thought gee once in a while the Left does something right. Now I read the Atty Fees was the motive. Creepy blood sucking Lawyers always on the take.


            Other good News, Trump cutting a lot of the Lefty programs like PBS, Big Bird, Food stamps for some of the free loaders, after school programs BS. Like why are Tax payers responsible for lazy parents not paying for their own daycare and feeding their children. Its all BS. No more Free Lunch B!tches..

            • ‘Parents’ were sending their kids to the library after school for them to babysit them. So they had to find a way to stop that. Daycare centers had to start fining ‘parents’ for not picking up their kids on time. But I guess that was too cruel too.
              You just can’t legislate morality as they say. These mutts will take advantage of every crack in the masonry just like termites will.
              Have you ever been to a courthouse near a metropolitan area? The judges in these places are just as nuts as the visitors it’s sad to say. These places are the perfect place to go if you what to see what society has turned into. The place is loaded with everyone who has found a way to milk the system. That includes the employees too. But it’s not their fault. They are just well adjusted.

          • The Tax Payers of that City had to pay $680K. Deepest pockets remember. Should have taken it out of the Pension of the Cops who arrested the people in the first place, and garnish their wages over 5 years until it is all paid off, or put liens on the Police Chief’s house and seize assets and pensions. That would be real in your face justice. Teach the pigs a lesson.

            • I’ll give you a good reason why tax payers are getting stuck with it.

              Because the tax payers LET their government corrupt our constitution.

              The constitution is not, has not, and never will be, self enforcing.

              Guess who the ENFORCERS are?

              Besides, do you really believe your labor tax, once paid to the government, the very government that the tax payers let spit and shit all over their constitution, belongs to the tax payers anymore?

              And people still wonder why they keep getting bent over and taking it up the ass?

              And by the way, it says “Federal Reserve Note”. It doesn’t say “United States Note”, or “US Treasury Note”.

            • The Tax Payers need to file a Suit and place liens on the Cops and City Council members and Mayor personally, to hold them accountable. Go file liens against politicians, that will put a knot in their panties.

        • Well spoken Apache!

      6. the statutory legal system is nothing but a system of racketeering and plunder made legal by judges and lawyers, they are the real enemies of america,

      7. The bulk of the money went to SPLC which is a lefty organization filled with crazy people. But what the city did was not right and I am glad they are called on it.

        • This goes on today in China. Millions working in prison factories for committing some minor infraction and being paid nothing other than the gruel that they’re given to eat. We buy the crap that is made by their hands. Think about it……it might come here when us older ones are gone and our children are still here. Them ‘pie-faces’ are some cruel bastards.

        • Texan, while I’m glad that town got challenged and defeated in court for their BS, I have a serious problem with the SPLC being involved in it. They are a totally chewish and leftist organization dedicated to the destruction of white people in America. If someone wants to try that asset forfeiture crap on me, they’ll have a fight on their hands.

      8. As much as I would like to see the practice of civil asset forfeiture and debtors’ prisons abolished. I don’t trust any group like the SPLC or even ACLU to get involved in such cases. So the victims only receive $500 each in compensation? How many of them lost MORE than $500 to the corrupt system? I’m not surprised that the majority of the settlement went to the damn lawyers. I’ll say it again; NEVER TRUST ANYONE WITH A BADGE. NEVER TRUST ANYONE WITH A LAW DEGREE.

        • BH!
          Your words are more true than you know…
          I once had a good friend, once… he became a Judge… he was ‘crashed’ into a tree on a lonely road at night, far from any witnesses. Knowing him, he was peeing in somebodies cornflakes… somebody with cajones.
          Before he became a lawyer, he was a programmer, then a few years later, he became my lawyer…
          He told, in no uncertain terms, that the first duty of any lawyer wasn’t to protect his client, but, to “protect The System”…
          I have never forgot it, nor, how he met his demise…
          CAF, is unconstitutional, period, end of sentence, “without due process”… which means you must be convicted of a crime FIRST.
          We, the patriot community, WARNED AMERICA, back when the Patriot Act was passed… that this would end up as just another tool of LEO’s… now with the Bundy situation coming to a head, it should become obvious to all, that The System only cares about one thing… power. I hate it when I’m right. But, 1984, said it right, its not about ideologies, its about The Haves vs The Have Nots. You are either a member of The Club… or you are dogmeat.
          We either get it through our skulls, that The System is out to get DT r u m p, and destroy WASP culture, or, we shall all go down like a herd of cats fighting a herd of buffaloes.
          What we need is a simple pledge;
          “All for one, and one for all”. Or we go down to those that do…

          • PM, truer words were never spoken. We are still heading towards an eventual confrontation with the system. If I have to die standing up, then so be it. The system lost any legitimacy it ever had decades ago.

            • BH,
              Amen… but just remember Patton… To paraphrase;

              It is better for you to let the other guy die for his false country, than for you to die for something that doesn’t exist anymore.
              I’m working on new toys. Being a blacksmith has all kinds of rewards…

      9. Live and die by the sword. Here we come.

      10. Someone should tell the IRS this. They lock up people all the time for not paying them the money they claim they are owed.

      11. Times are very difficult.

        St. Patrick’s day is one of those overlooked holidays where grocery stores put corned beef on huge sales. I just grabbed the biggest one in the store today for $2.99 a pound with coupon.

        Then I took my pressure cooker and committed a terrible act and cooked that guy until he was crumbling, added carrots and baby red taters.

        Damn that was satisfying, and I have enough left for another family dinner.

        Many stores also deep discount corned beef after St Patty’s day, if they have too many left over. Watch for sales. Fill your freezer, the way corned beef is cured and packaged it will keep for a year in a good freezer.

        • Personally I like beef that tastes like beef not ham. I guess corned beef is an acquired taste and my Italian rooted household growing up never had it served. I guess broccoli rabe isn’t big with Irishmen either. My Hines 57 wife says, “How do you eat that”!

          • I do make an exception with a Rubin.

          • Kevin2, I’ve been a meateater all my life and will be one all the way to my last dying breath. GO MEAT!

        • Yep. We just bought 12 lbs, 4 cabage, potatoes, turnips and beets. We will eat off that for a couple of weeks.

          • And don’t forget you can chop it all up and make hash for breakfast.

        • you fricken amateur, plan. i got mine for 1.79….and i bought 4 of ’em… paddy’s only comes once a year(poor guy!). i never could see much difference between flat cut and point cut…..oh, and i HOPE you got lots of butter and vinegar.

        • I picked up a ‘point’ @1.79lb. and then grabbed a brisket. The point will be for Rubins down the road. don’t forget the cabbage and taters!

      12. Assuming someone does get speeding tickets, for conversation sake on roads with children present. They can’t pay the fine, your can’t incarcerate them, you certainly can’t give them a spanking or “Time Out”. What do they do?

        I don’t like laws but understand civilization requires some.

        • No victim, no crime. You shouldn’t get a ticket for speeding or driving drunk unless you hurt someone or damage their property.

          • I guess we’ll have to disagree. There is no crime if one only hurts themselves hence drug laws are unconstitutional but you can’t propel a 3000 lb missile through a residential neighborhood at 75 MPH either.

      13. Getting someone in the system is as easy as a speeding ticket. I’ve known people who have been dogged by police after a traffic violation.

      14. Yah Kevin,the laws of common sense,not the corrupt/insane corporate ripoff we have!

        I did 30 days county time for not paying a fine.I actually had the money,just claimed not to,shocked court when said time at 10 a day fine,be damned even if offered to work it off!Was winter,no work/just said fuck it!Was supposed to be 45 but due to realizing they were not getting monies on a bullshit charge was booted early,this was a trespassing charge but as not jailable no attorney,hmmm,but if broke,jailable.I always said would do time before paying fines,had to put up and help the system get the tinniest bit more clogged down,was worth it!

      15. The dollar has lost 97% of its value since 1913 and the creation borne from Jekyll Island. This scrapping over the remaining 3% has to be expected as we have succumed to a privately owned central bank. We should be debating why a couple of Phd’s working for a private bank are dictating interest rates in the first place thus affecting the ability of these people to pay. The bankers go free while the speeder goes to jail as they bleed the rock dry. They must be shaking the last drops of blood out of that stone, got a few splashes on them there.

        • As always wise words from an elder. I mean that with the utmost respect “Grandpa”.

      16. The Common Sense Show- FEMA Prisons Located Within Privatized Prisons

        Published on May 15, 2016
        Fox News’ Radio talk show host Kate Dalley discussed with Dave FEMA prisons within a prison. Violators are subjected to long sentences for free speech violations.

      17. The SPLC is not Southern and it is not poor.

        Dees is caught up in his own legal problems. Apparently he likes his X’s kid from her prior marriage more than as a proper step-parent should, so goes his divorce papers. Not that it isn’t uncommon for X’s to lie, but his chances for a career in childcare have been negatively effected.

        Dee’s is a jerk in more ways than the ACLU and almost as many as the ADL. All of them are Chews and Commie SOBs.


        • B from CA, agreed about SPLC. They are dedicated to the destruction of white people and their culture in America. Plus, they DON’T stand up for black people like they claim to. They’ve had only 2 BLACK attorneys I’m aware of during the entire time they’ve been in business and both of those attorneys QUIT BECAUSE OF RACISM FROM THE CHEWS AND OTHER LIBTURDS IN THAT GROUP. So go figure.

      18. I know people who served longer prison sentences for unpaid tickets, than black dudes assaulting white females. Where’s the justice? There is none.

        If there is a God in heaven, I hope He’s taking notes. This shit isn’t right.


      19. They were denied due process: neither taken before a judge, nor allowed to have a lawyer present. Ok. Certainly, this is illegal.
        However, they were guilty of some infraction: the girl was driving without a license.
        Let the crucifixion begin, but where is the problem with letting (not forcing) someone work off their fine?
        If they were taken before a judge in good standing with the state of Alabama and he sentenced them to the same amount of work to pay off their debt, would there still be a problem?
        You should not be punished simply because you are poor, but neither should you be allowed a free ride simply because you are poor.

        • Please read more carefully they “were not taken before a judge “

      20. On a lighter note, I read this somewhere:
        “I’m sorry and I apologize mean the same thing, except at a funeral.”
        That made me laugh

      21. I have lived in third world countries for several years, and the level of corruption in America still astounds me! Believe it or not, you are not free. I have experienced more freedom in Asia. Way more freedom in South America. Even Mexico is more tolerable a place to live in. If you know where to live and who not to deal with. I have noticed that in America everybody is susceptible to the big war machine that keeps the dogs moving. You can get lost in the bureaucracy and lose everything including your freedom and even your life. The dangers in America are astounding! Just the so called police with their weapons going on a rampage and killing everyone. All the alphabet agency’s out to screw you and take your livelihood. You have all the regulations, laws, ordinances, rules, etc. The list goes on. Then you have all the lawyers, the media’s, the countless groups of private citizens who are out to do the same thing. All the businesses geared to squeeze as much as they can from you. Big corporations in cahoots with the politicians to bend you over and ram it up your butt. Then just your ordinary crazy street people who will slut your throat. I bewilders me how anybody can come to America, and call it the home of the free. The American dream died a long time ago, if I had to date it, I would say at least 85 years ago.

      22. BADGES are REDCOATS.

        only a SCUMBAG wears a badge. once you consider the parallels it is VERY CLEAR. the crown lost the battles in 1776 but won thru corporations.

        we serve the same source, the CROWN. the BAR is british. lawyers PLEDGE to it.

        Police are the soldiers of the ELite (crown).

        biggest enemy to the people? THOSE protecting the ELites and carrying out their laws.

      23. So… What you’re saying is criminals shouldn’t face any punishment at all if they are “poor”. They should be allowed to speed, drive recklessly, DWI, DUI, etc etc and face no consequence at all? This is NOT a win for “Civil rights” It’s a lose for all of humanity, when laws are just thrown by the way side. The US is becoming more and more lawless, with activist anti-law criminal judges.

        What should you do if you’re too poor to pay a speeding ticket? *DON’T F***ING SPEED* That’s what I did when I was too poor to pay a speeding ticket… I made absolutely certain I didn’t even ACCIDENTALLY speed.

        • Said just like a govt welfare queen cop….
          It’s never about safety, it’s about theft and greed, why do you think we call them PIGS?

      24. Laws thrown by the wayside. Better take your complaint to the controllers standing in the shadows. And ask them what they have gotten away with while you’re at it.

      Commenting Policy:

      Some comments on this web site are automatically moderated through our Spam protection systems. Please be patient if your comment isn’t immediately available. We’re not trying to censor you, the system just wants to make sure you’re not a robot posting random spam.

      This website thrives because of its community. While we support lively debates and understand that people get excited, frustrated or angry at times, we ask that the conversation remain civil. Racism, to include any religious affiliation, will not be tolerated on this site, including the disparagement of people in the comments section.