Seeing sense on jail for debtors
DURING the first 10 months of last year, an astonishing 3,366 people were imprisoned for refusing or failing to pay court fines. Most of them had committed road traffic offences, but they also included at least 62 people jailed for failing to pay fines imposed for not having a television licence.
And after years of protest about the extraordinary number of people jailed for not paying fines, it emerges that the number has gone up instead of down, increasing at a rate of roughly 1,000 a year.
The situation is made all the more intolerable by the fact that the prisons are overcrowded. During 2008, nine of them operated at or above "full capacity".