A Missouri appeals court has sided with a former county jail inmate over the way a court process was used to try and collect payment for his room and board while behind bars.

A panel of the Missouri Appeals Court’s Western District ruled Tuesday in favor of John Wright of Higginsville. The ruling follows extensive coverage of so-called “debtor’s prison” issues by St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger.

Wright pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of stealing and resisting arrest in Lafayette County on July 27, 2016, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Like many rural Missouri counties, Lafayette County requires inmates to repay jail-related costs. He was ordered to pay about $1,300, and required to appear in court monthly to review how he was repaying the money.

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