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Jailtime for debtors in Texas will soon be a thing of the past

Jerry Lara
San Antonio Express News

The State of Texas is putting the brakes on the idea of debtors jail, reports The San Antonio Express News. For decades, the Lone Star State has been tossing people in jail when they were unable to pay fines.

Last year, over half a million Texans served time for unpaid parking tickets and the court fines. But beginning in September, judges will begin considering the economic status of defendants before sending them to jail.

Likewise, defendants will be offered alternatives to jail time, including installment plans, waivers and community service.

The new policy is expected to save Texas money. It costs about $80 to house an offender in jail for one night. Likewise, throwing someone in jail for being unable to pay lowers the likelihood that the state will see any money from the defendant.

Texas is the latest in a series of states who have made similar policy changes.