This is so effed up!
Breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay was arrested and jailed in Illinois for not paying a $280 medical bill that was actually an error. She was told to disregard the bill, but then it was handed over to a collection agency. State troopers showed up at her house and took her away in handcuffs!
To get out of jail, she then had to pay over $600 because legal fees had been added to the original amount. That sounds like a nightmare!
Turns out this type of incident is pretty common in the state. Debt collectors are aggressively pursuing citizens who have fallen behind on small debts (in some cases, only $25 or $50), but they are using taxpayer-financed courts, sheriff's deputies and county jails to do so.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan does not support the shady practice and said:
"We're using public resources to collect private debts. At what point do you say it's illegal?"
Local governments in Illinois and other states are trying to establish legislation that would prevent debtors from jailing the poor for small debts, but so far nothing significant has been passed.