Do some states really have a debtors prison?

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by LuvOrlando, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. LuvOrlando

    LuvOrlando DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2006
    So I just recently had a conversation with a friend of mine and she told me her step son, an adult, had done time in a debtors prison and my reaction was :eek: I thought those were banished ages ago. She tells me, not true, they have them in Texas, or at least they did in the past 40 or so years when the step son went. So this go me to thinking, do these places really exist in some states or is this family just trying to throw up a smoke screen? I've lived in NY, NJ and PA and never heard of one except in a history book and I personally think they are lying to her to cover up theft or something more insidious. Still, this is the US and I guess anything might be possible. Has anyone out there ever heard of them or is this family just messing with my friend?
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  3. Sir Robin Hood

    Sir Robin Hood Mouseketeer

    Nov 10, 2008
    They exist in Nottingham. But that's where I come in and bust out the innocent and save the good people from tyranny.

    Seriously though. I honestly can't say I've heard of them existing in this day & age, or else there would be a whole lot of people behind bars, including the majority of the folks running the country. Interesting thing to look into though, but I doubt they are out there now.
  4. MushyMushy

    MushyMushy <font color=blue>Marseeya Here!<br><font color=blu

    Jul 2, 2006
    I think parents who are delinquent on child support can go to jail in some states. Is it possible that's what he's in jail for?
  5. corndog

    corndog <font color=blue>My childhood grows increasingly h

    Jan 22, 2002
    Debtors prison is how we got from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution.

    Shays Rebellion anyone?
  6. LuvOrlando

    LuvOrlando DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2006
    Hmmm, no yesses so far, but it could be we're all from the North East. I'm very skeptical, but I'm also a lifelong Yankee. I'd like to hear from the south and midwest... this could be one of those regional differences we all hear about from time to time.

    I don't think it was child support since from what I understand this guy is expecting his first child soon. But that is definitely a possibility if he fathered a child as a teen. But that's not a debtors prison is it, its regular prison? If this is what happened and my DF knew I think she'd tell me after all the other stuff she told me about the guy, he's quite a mess.
  7. momof1princess

    momof1princess <font color=darkorchid>i feel like i'm going to ex

    Aug 3, 2005
    i live in alabama and there's no debtor's prison here that i'm aware of. if you owe a substantial amount of back child support or restitution, you can be imprisoned, but that's just in a regular prison. i'm intrigued to hear from others about this, though.
  8. Keli

    Keli <font color=darkcoral>We're smarter than the avera

    Oct 27, 1999
    Family is covering something up. No debtor's prisons anywhere within the US.
  9. Took

    Took DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 1999
    There are no debtors prisons in the U.S. A parent who is (consistently or very) deliquent on child-support payments can go to jail, but that's about it.

  10. dturner

    dturner DIS Veteran

    Mar 25, 2003
    I'm in Texas - there are no debtors prisons in Texas but you can go to jail for non-payment of child support.
  11. MarkBarbieri

    MarkBarbieri Semi-retired

    Aug 20, 2006
    There are definitely no debtors prisons in Texas. I don't think that there every have been, certainly not since Reconstruction in the late 1800s. At that time, Texas became extremely hostile to debt collectors. Heck, we only started allowing home equity loans a few years ago because we didn't want creditors going after people's houses.

    Florida and Texas are the two most popular states for rich people to declare bankruptcy in because they can shelter an unlimited amount of money in a primary residence. If I've a $10,000,000 house in Texas and I declare bankruptcy, no one can touch any of that home equity. The feds changed the minimum residency rules a few years ago, but the basic principal still applies. Texas is a state that is very friendly to debtors.
  12. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG <font color=blue>Stumped for 2005<br><font color=r

    Oct 26, 2001
    I agree with the other posters. I have heard of jail time for owing child support, but that's about it.

    I think the old debtors prisons go way back to when wealthy and powerful men would lend money or have delinquent renters and they were influential enough to have the thrown in prison. Kinda like today, but without the prison!

    Then, there's the debt against society, but that's a different take on regular criminals.

    I've never understood the logic of putting someone in jail for owing money since they can't earn money to pay the debt while they're in jail. I think that back in the day it had more to do with flexing power and control.

    Now, taxes... well, let's not go there... :scared1:
  13. LuvOrlando

    LuvOrlando DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2006
    Ah-ha! Thank you all, especially the Texans. I knew something wasn't right when she told me about this. I told her flat out I didn't think our Government allowed them any longer but she was pretty insistent and her conviction made me doubt myself. She's been there about a year (a re-married widow with 2 kids) and is originally from up north, like me. She's all alone down there and to be honest I'm a bit worried for her if she's being lied to like this. The worst part is, her new DH just had an alarm put in because this bad egg son gave a sweety pie phone call to say hi & ask them out for dinner. :sad2: She thinks he wants to ask for a loan but I say it's trouble way bigger than that. Who ever heard of a father putting an alarm in when his son pops on the radar?

    Now I just have to figure out how to work this little tid-bit of truth into a conversation without upsetting her. Poor thing has been through enough. Anyone have any ideas? It's an odd topic but I'm hoping she'll bring it up again thinking she didn't tell me that part yet.
  14. ChristmasElf

    ChristmasElf <font color=darkorchid>Will be packing TP in her p

    Mar 29, 2003
    Here's more info than you probably want, but nonetheless, it's interesting to read the history behind it.
    Gaol-pronounced jail is actually a French word according to the article meaning "cage".

    There are no debtors prisons anywhere in the US for more than a hundred years.
  15. disneyismyname

    disneyismyname DIS Veteran

    Nov 13, 2007
    I've never heard of a debtors prison in the U.S. :confused3
    Actually the first time I heard of such a thing was in Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit...
  16. Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party Truth is truth

    Nov 13, 2003
    Another Texan with a "nope."

    Interesting thread...
  17. JerseyMamaBear

    JerseyMamaBear DIS Veteran

    Jul 31, 2007
    I was going to mention something along these lines. He could be sent to jail for fraud or theft if her purposely or knowingly signed a bad check in order to get out of paying a bill.
  18. C.Ann

    C.Ann <font color=green>We'll remember when...<br><font

    May 13, 2001
    "Mary, I've been very worried about you, but I have some great news! There is no such thing as debtors prison in the U.S. anymore, so maybe the incident isn't as bad as you think.." :confused3
  19. Becky2005

    Becky2005 <font color=darkorchid>I actually thought they mad

    Nov 4, 2004
    I haven't read through all the posts but the ONLY thing that came to mind was owing child support.

    As far as I know, that would be the only thing that could constitute being put in prison for only owing a debt. Anything else I can come up with includes fraud, writing bad checks, etc... basically more to it than just owing someone lots of money that you don't pay up on. Unless of course, there are mob issues in there but umm...I don't think they put people in prison for that....they have other ways of dealing with unpaid debt.
  20. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    Sounds like dad is expecting visitors to the house while he and his wife are out to dinner with his son....

    My hubby's sister tells some whoppers to her family, and until I came along, everyone believed them. Now the rest of them still do, but hubby finally doesn't. For instance, she, a supposedly upstanding woman with a job managed to "lose" custody of her daughters, to an active (and known) heroin user with prison time for bank robbing, and who can't get a job b/c of that felony AND he won't do construction work (from what I hear, basically the only work available to people with his felony past). Yeah...right....meanwhile, instead of being in court all the time and being sad, she was out carousing and living it up, boyfriend after boyfriend, for almost 2 years. Then BOOM she got the girls back. Her family believed this. I don't. I think she left them with him (he was the SAHP while they were married, and the girls were wonderful and sweet and well mannered while he was still in the house...they went "bad seed" after they were back with their mom alone) while she sowed more wild oats, then felt bad about it, or missed them or something.

    The family also believes that they got a divorce in about a MONTH after filing. :rotfl:

    Anyway, this neighbor wouldn't be alone in believing nonsense being told to her by a beloved person's mouth...
  21. tonilea

    tonilea <font color=blue>I hope I don't regret this...<br>

    Jul 31, 2000
    Things that might be misconstrued as "debtor's prison".... felony theft of services, fraud, any type of financial fraud, theft, felony hot checks, non payment of child support... I am sure there are lots of things that people could twist to mean they were in prision for a "debt".

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