Law 165 - Challenging the Modern Debtor's Prison
Beth A. Colgan
J.D. Northwestern University School of Law, 2000
In recent years increasing attention has been paid to the government's reliance on the use of economic sanctions (fines, forfeitures, fees, restitution, court and probation costs, etc.) as both a means of punishment and a mechanism for revenue generation. These policies risk the creation of modern day debtor's prisons, where people without means are incarcerated or otherwise punished when unable to pay. Using recent reform efforts in Ferguson and other towns in St. Louis County, Missouri as a jumping off point, this course will provide an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of how advocacy methods including litigation and legislative reform may be used to shape the law in this arena, as well as impediments to such reform. Students will be expected to complete short assignments related to each week's readings, and for participating enthusiastically in class discussions.