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Definition of Debtor's prison

Debtor's prison Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
English Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia
A debtors' prison is a prison for people who are unable to pay debt. Through the mid 19th century, debtors' prisons (usually similar in form to locked workhouses) were a common way to deal with unpaid debt in Western Europe. Destitute persons unable to pay a court-ordered judgment would be sentenced to these prisons until they had worked off their debt via labor or secured outside funds to pay the balance; the product of their labor went towards both the costs of their incarceration and their accrued debt. Increasing access and lenience throughout the history of bankruptcy law have made prison terms for unaggravated indigence illegal over most of the world.

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