One in three adults in this country has a debt that has been turned over to a private collection agency. Thousands of debtors are arrested and jailed each year because they owe money. Millions more are threatened with jail. The debts owed can be as small as a few dollars and can involve every kind of consumer debt, from medical bills to car payments to student loans. Arrests stemming from private debt are devastating communities across the country, and amount to a silent financial crisis that, due to longstanding racial and economic inequalities, is disproportionately affecting people of color and low-income communities.

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