The New Debtors' Prison
Why All Americans Are in Danger of Losing Their Freedom
Christopher B. Maselli, Paul Lonardo
- 240 Pages
- May 21, 2019
- ISBN: 9781510733251
- Imprint: Skyhorse Publishing
- Trim Size: Trim size data not found for this book.
Debtors’ prisons might sound like something out of a Dickens novel, but what most Americans do not realize is that they are alive and well in a new and startling form. Today more than 20 percent of the prison population is incarcerated for financial reasons such as failing to pay a fine. This alarming trend not only affects the poor, who are hit particularly hard, but also ensnares the millions of self-identified middle-class people who are struggling to make ends meet.
All across the country people are being fined and even imprisoned for offenses as small as delinquency on student debt or an unpaid parking ticket. However, there is an insidious undercurrent to these practices that the average person might not realize. Many counties depend on a steady supply of citizens to pay fines and court costs in order to make their budgets. Minor vehicle infractions, by design, can rack up hundreds of dollars in charges that go straight to the city’s coffers. Combine this with the fact that many middle-class people cannot handle an unexpected $400 expense and the general lack of awareness about the risk for being repeatedly jailed for failure to pay court costs, probation, and even per day charges for being in jail and you get an endless cycle of men and women either in debt or in prison for debt.
While shocking to some, this system makes up today’s debtors’ prisons. In The New Debtors’ Prison, Christopher Maselli draws from his personal knowledge of the criminal justice system based on his experience on both sides of the prison walls as an attorney as well as a former inmate, to take a hard look at our modern prison system that systematically targets the poor and vulnerable of our society in order to fund the prison-industrial complex.
Paul Lonardo has published both fiction and nonfiction books, including numerous collaborative titles. He studied filmmaking and screenwriting at Columbia College, Hollywood and earned a BS in English from the University of Rhode Island. A freelance writer and author, he lives in Lincoln, RI, with his wife and son.
“The ‘land of the free’ is and always has been the land of the wealthy and powerful. Christopher Maselli’s book is an important resource for convincing working-class Americans of this reality. If what this book says is true, then the violent people we should be worried about are not those behind bars, but the police, prosecutors, and judges who put them there. Who do they really serve? Who do they really protect? What the white ruling elite calls the criminal ‘justice’ system is, for the rest of us, a cruel joke—a joke that produces quite the death toll.”—Roberto Sirvent, Ph.D., author of American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News—from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror