House approves ban on jailing people who can’t pay fines

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(Photo: MGN Online)

DENVER — The Colorado House of Representatives approved a bill Wednesday that bans the practice of jailing people who cannot afford to pay fines and court fees.

House Bill 14-1061 was proposed following an investigation led by American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, according to a press release from ACLU.

The legislation stated that defendants who are unable to pay fines to contact the court for a hearing to explain why they cannot pay the fees — they may be offered the option to set up a payment plan.

The Colorado chapter of ACLU said it discovered that many Colorado cites, as well as some county courts, arrest and imprison financially unstable individuals who miss payments of fines and court fees. This is done without the appropriate procedures required by the United States Supreme Court to determine whether or not a person is capable of paying fees and fines, added ACLU.

The proposed bill now moves onto the governor

ACLU started a campaign to end the imprisonment of debtors.