13 Amendment of the USA Constitution

Asked almost 2 years ago - Fort Worth, TX

The 13th Amendment abolishes "debtors prison" a.k.a. "involuntary servitude" in all U.S. jurisdictions. If the constitution secures my birth rights...how can one be imprisoned for debt- if the Constitution forbids it?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Deborah C Anderson Esq

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . One of my colleagues mentioned that a person can be thrown in jail for not paying child support. This happens quite often, sadly. This particular matter, and others, like failure to pay other kinds of court-ordered payments, are usually handled as civil contempt matters.
    Child support, in particular, is a tricky one. Back payments are not discharged, regardless of changed circumstances. It is expected that a person paying child support will go to court to file for a modification of a child support order if s/he loses his/her job or is reduced to part-time employment or something similar.
    It is routine in DC for a judge to issue an arrest warrant for somebody who has not paid court-ordered fines or contributions in criminal cases. The expectation is always that a person understands his/her obligation to make court-ordered payments and will take the initiative to go back to court if s/he is not able to make the payments. If a person doesn't do so and s/he is picked up, the matter is handled as an issue of contempt of court, which is not a right protected by the Constitution.

    My advice should in no way be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship.
  2. Alexander Mchenry Memmen

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Your question doesn't make sense. We don't have debtor's prisons in this country. You would have to explain why you are in prison.

  3. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . One cannot be jailed as you described.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia.... more

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