Oppressed by Debt Government and the Justice System as a Creditor of the Poor
This edited collection brings together essays that explore personal debts to government. Intensive collection efforts by governments in need of revenue often cause hardship, whether it is the poor in the United States going to jail because of unpaid fines, low-income English people being evicted because they paid their council taxes but could then not pay their rent, or poor former students having tax refunds or social benefits taken by the government when they have defaulted on their student loans.
Student loans, fines and fees arising from the justice system, benefit overpayments and unpaid taxes have all ballooned in the past decade, but no other volume comprehensively addresses the various ways in which governments have become privileged creditors, using their power to collect debts owed to them by their citizens. With each essay emphasizing a particular kind of debt to government, the book focuses on what happens when citizens cannot pay the debts they owe to their governments. Contributors offer pragmatic options to facilitate a movement to soften the stance of governments toward those who owe them money.
The insights in this collection will be of relevance to students and academics in criminology, sociology, public policy, and economics, as well as policymakers and government officials interested in effecting change in this area.
Saul Schwartz and Joseph Spooner
Chapter 1. Benefits Overpayments and the Criminalisation of Female Poverty
Chapter 2. The Local Austere Creditor
Chapter 3. Criminal Justice Debt and The Return of Debtors’ Prisons
Neil L. Sobol
Chapter 4. Student Debt in the United States: Racial Disparities and Wealth
Fenaba R. Addo
Chapter 5. Reducing the Burden of Student Loan Repayment: A Canada-US Comparison