Star Tribune Article “In Jail for Being in Debt”

An article appearing in the Sunday Star Tribune and Tuesday online version of the Star Tribune ( is drawing a lot of attention. The individuals in the article who are taken to jail are guilty of contempt of court for failing to comply with a court order. The United States of America has done away with debtor’s prisons, however failing to follow a valid court order is a jailable offense.

In the hyper-technical court system it is possible to go to jail for missing an appearance or failing to comply with a court request or court order even if you did not receive the paperwork. For many, rather than worrying about these details, they could avoid the possibility of jail and discharge the underlying debt by filing bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy will preclude any debt collector from collecting the debt or from using the courts to collect the debt. The end result is a debtor is protected from the debt collectors during the bankruptcy process and ultimately will receive a discharge for the debt.