Breast Cancer Survivor Thrown in Jail for Unpaid Bill Should Enrage Us All

Say What!? 16

woman handcuffedNeed a little more cray cray in your day? Get this: Breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay was sent a $280 medical bill completely by accident, and even after she was told she didn't have to pay the bill, she found herself in debtor's prison! She was taken there by STATE TROOPERS who showed up at her home and handcuffed her like she was a common criminal. Then, she had to pay $600 out of pocket just to get the charges all straightened out. And yes, this happened right here in the good ol' USA! In my home state of Illinois, in fact. What the ...?!

It should come as no big surprise that ever since the country tumbled into the Great Recession, the number of people who have debt collectors knocking down their doors has increased like whoa. In fact, the number of debts referred to third-party collection agencies has doubled since 2000. Incredible. But what's even scarier is that completely innocent people like Lindsay are bearing the brunt of this trend -- by getting thrown in jail.

This poor woman. Can you imagine ... To go through all of that over a stinkin $280 bill -- that she never even owed in the first place! Compeltely insane. Obviously there's something seriously amiss here. In fact, one-third of states allow debtors to be imprisoned.

That said, stories like Lindsay's are not as uncommon as you would think. Consider a disabled roofer named Jack Hinton who was put in an Illinois jail for not settling a $300 bill with a lumberyard, or a woman named Kelly Wiedemer who spent four days in jail because she hadn't paid traffic fines. Wow.

So now, there's actually a bill to prevent debtors from going to jail that's going to be heard in the Illinois state Senate tomorrow. Fingers crossed that baby gets desk, signed, sealed, and delivered to the governor's desk, because this is just outrageous.

Even in most cases where someone owes the bill that a debt collector is chasing them down for ... jail time can't possibly be the best solution. There are just way too many everyday Americans who cannot make ends meet right now. Instead, greedy medical companies and corporations knocking down doors to get paid amounts that are basically pennies to them need to better understand a couple of things called forgiveness and having a soul. Because people like Lisa Lindsay, Jack Hinton, and Kelly Wiedemer deserve better.

How outrageous is this?!


in the news, breasts, cancer, crime, economy

16 Comments

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nonmember avatar SA

You can't go to jail just for not paying a debt. She was probably sued and sent to jail for not showing up in court.

nonmember avatar guest

I guess I should be expecting cops at my door soon. I'm victim of identy theft and recently found out that I had a couple of credit cards opened in my name out of state. What are they gonna do about the ones who didn't even know we had our identy stolen? Insane!!!

nonmember avatar kaerae

The traffic fine example doesn't belong in with the other examples. You have ALWAYS been able to do time for that, dince it is considered failure to appear on a criminal charge, rather than a civil collection issue.

femal... femaleMIKE

Its outrageous. I hope she speaks up in support of the bill.

the4m... the4mutts

Traffic fine isn't the same.

And I thought medical bills couldn't even be taken from your wages? Aren't medical bills exempt from like 99% of debt collecting methods?

Something is missing here.

libby261 libby261

Pretty sleezy debt collectors.  


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/illinois-debtors-thrown-i_n_1144093.html

bills... billsfan1104

I dont believe this.  THere has to be something more to this.  You cannot go to jail for not paying a debt.  I do mortgage collections, and we never threaten jail.  We cannot.  Its against the law. 


 

javak... javakitty2011

this and the articles you reference are completely misleading. I live in Illinois too, and I have gone to court over bills from collections. You do NOT get sent to jail for debt. You get sent to jail for contempt of court if you do not show up for your court dates or if you have don't meet court ordered payments on fines etc.. If you are not able to pay debts based on limited income, etc... you still have to go to court and show the court that, not just skip it.

MeAnd... MeAndTommyLee

This article should NOT be on this site!


What if someone that is severely in debt reads this misinformation and does something drastic?  This is a needlessly threatening and potentially harmful article that obviously was written in negligent haste.

Amand... AmandaSnyder

Dude everyone needs to chill it can happen and it has happened it happened to one of my friend's parents.just because it cant happen to you doesnt mean it wont happen to someone else.  I believe me I have been hounded by bill collectors since I was 16 because of medical and other exspenses.  Its depressing especially since people cant get jobs and the military is forcing people out.  I hate to say it wait til you walk a mile in someone elses shoes.

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