Colorado city to pay those sent to jail over court fines

AP News
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Posted: May 05, 2016 4:49 PM
Colorado city to pay those sent to jail over court fines

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — In a rare move, a Colorado city has agreed to pay dozens of people, most of them homeless, who were sent to jail because they couldn't afford to pay fines for minor offenses like panhandling and jaywalking.

Colorado Springs will pay individuals $125 for each day they spent behind bars under a deal with the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

The city says local courts also have stopped imposing "pay or serve" sentences and it has changed ordinances that allowed the practice.

The settlement comes as several other cities, including New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi, are facing federal lawsuits claiming authorities use jail or the threat of it to get people to pay court fees or fines.