From the earliest times right through until the end of the Victorians, ‘Debtors Prisons’, were in existence but even they were not what you think.
Sure enough, people lost their liberty just for being in debt in some capacity, but once incarcerated it was extremely difficult to get out.
The whole system was designed purely to make money for the PRIVATE CONTRACTOR who ran each prison on behalf of the Government.
The financial rewards were huge, understandably making it a very sought after contract for greedy businessmen.
What it came down to in essence was this…
Innocent men and women (and more often than not, children) were often incarcerated for years at a time in some cases, so that rich businessmen could leech off the prisoners who had to pay for literally everything….
Celebrated author Charles Dickens’ own father was in a debtors prison (The Marshalsea) when Charles was a child.
Now you might think, if you are a right wing or centre politician, that this would be particularly attractive, but consider this.
Sometimes the amounts people were sent to jail for were of such trifling amounts, maybe as low as £10 if calculated at today’s rates.
Often it was because a man on principle would refuse to pay a disputed bill.
For this minuscule amount they could be in jail for years (decades sometimes).
During their time in jail their treatment was entirely dependant upon their means.
If they had money, they could have good accommodation, food, conjugal visits etc, everything a man could desire, save his freedom.
But those were not the norm and for most it was a living hell, where if you could not find a sponsor to fund your stay in prison you were thrown into the ‘Dregs’ and left to rot…
And all this because Conservatives at the time liked to make money from the misery that they deliberately inflicted upon people who had no voice or power.
See this as a lesson from history that is destined to repeat itself unless people start to wake up….