debtors prison

A new law will ensure defendants facing jail time because they can’t afford to pay their fines are appointed an attorney.

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

The issue of “debtors' prisons” in New Hampshire will now likely come before the Legislature. That’s after the state’s highest court rejected change in court rules that would guarantee an attorney for people facing jail time for unpaid court fines. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A proposed rule change to the state’s circuit court system aims to end so-called debtors’ prison in New Hampshire.

The change comes six months after a report from the New Hampshire ACLU found judges across the state routinely engaged in an illegal practice – sending defendants to jail who couldn’t afford to pay fines, often without an attorney present.

AP Photo/Kathleen Ronayne

The recent death of a homeless man in a New Hampshire jail has brought renewed attention to the practice of jailing people for minor crimes when they can’t afford bail.

Twenty-six year old Jeffrey Pendleton was found dead in his cell at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections in Manchester last month.