top of page

Welcome to Crime and Justice News

Ferguson, Mo., Settles 'Debtors Prison' Lawsuit for $4.5M

Ferguson, Missouri agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused it of operating a so-called debtors’ prison, reports the Associated Press. The money will be paid out to more than 15,000 people who were jailed between Feb. 8, 2010, and Dec. 30, 2022, for failing to pay fines, fees and other court costs. Ferguson admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

In 2015, the Justice Department accused Ferguson of racially biased policing and using excessive fines and court fees. A year later, Ferguson and the agency reached an agreement that required sweeping reforms. Preliminary settlements have been reached in seven class-action cases against the the city over policing practices, with total payouts of nearly $20 million. Ferguson is the St. Louis suburb where black teen Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014, during a street confrontation. Wilson was not charged, but the shooting led to months of protests and prompted a Department of Justice investigation.


Recent Posts

See All


A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

bottom of page