Missouri AG files brief in ‘debtors prison’ lawsuit

Schmitt submits argument to Missouri Supreme Court
Missouri AG files brief in ‘debtors prison’ lawsuit

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt argues courts should change the way the cost of incarceration is collected from indigent inmates.

Currently, indigent inmates who can’t pay the cost — commonly called board bills — can be returned to prison, adding to their debts.

In a brief filed with the Missouri Supreme Court, Schmidt argued that collecting board bills as court costs creates modern day debtors prisons.

Schmidt argued board bills should be paid a civil collection process, which wouldn’t threaten more jail time for failure to pay. He argues no Missouri law provides authority to consider jail debts as court costs.

Schmidt’s brief comes in one of several ongoing cases filed by Public Defender Matthew Mueller challenging how board bills are collected.

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