Alabama City Agrees to Pay Dozens Jailed in ‘Debtors Prison'

A small Alabama city reached a legal settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center Tuesday to end a federal lawsuit that accused it of running "a modern-day debtors prison," NBC News reported.

The lawsuit filed by the public interest law firm alleged that Alexander City was jailing people for being too poor to pay fines and fees for traffic tickets and misdemeanor offenses.

The law center says at least 190 poor people were wrongly jailed within two years. Indigent defendants had to pay off fines by serving time in the municipal jail at a rate of $20 a day.

Under the $680,000 settlement, people will get at least $500 for each day they were jailed illegally. A judge still must hold a final hearing on the settlement.

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