Ali Marhefka ’14
Many people do not realize that “debtor’s prison” is not just a thing of the past. Debt collecting in the United States has yet again become a common problem for many, such as Lisa Lindsay. Lindsay, a breast cancer survivor from Herrin in southern Illinois, was billed $280 dollars by mistake for a medical procedure. She was told she did not have to pay it, but weeks later, state troopers arrived at her home and arrested her. Lindsay later learned that the bill had been overturned to a collection agency, despite the assurance that she would not have to pay.
Since the recession, debt collectors have become more aggressive, especially in parts of Illinois. Many Americans use taxpayer-financed courts, sheriff’s deputies, and county jails to press people who have fallen behind, even on payments under $100. Some states, such as Minnesota, have tried to pass a bill allowing debtors to fill out an affidavit stating what their income and assets are when authorities come to execute a warrant; but unfortunately, they have still been unsuccessful.