/Jackson may settle ‘debtors’ prison’ suit

Jackson may settle ‘debtors’ prison’ suit

According to the U.S. District Court docket, Jackson City Council will consider terms for a settlement during its May 3 meeting. Jerome Bell et al v. City of Jackson is a federal lawsuit that seeks to have the federal court stop and rectify the city’s “pay or stay”, which it claims violates U.S. law and state law. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to pay the plaintiffs and others for the illegal time they were held in Hinds County’s two prison facilities and penal farm. The 33-page complaint says that these practices and the modern-day debtors prison they have created “have no place in our society.” Although lead attorneys LaShundra Jackson-Winters for city and Clifton Johnson to plaintiffs declined to respond to Mississippi Today’s request, the U.S. District Court docket showed that there was “a possible settlement” after a telephone conference between Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker. There were no details. Seven people and others were affected by a lawsuit filed against the city in October 2015. It was brought to you by Equal Justice Under Law of Washington, D.C. and MacArthur Justice Center of the University of Mississippi. According to the class-action complaint, if a poor person is imprisoned by the city, they are told that they can “work off” their fines at $58 per day while those who cannot work must “sit out.” Fines of $25 per day are for those who are unable to work. Rickey Lambert (41), of Flowood and Jackson residents Jerome Bell (58), James Sheppard (61), Marteze Harris, 25 and Marteze Harris, 25 were named as plaintiffs. Jarmale Walker, 26, and Michael Davis (34) were also named as defendants.