Special Report: How a legal system dependent on fines, fees affects Oklahomans

This five-part report shows how imposing court fines and fees that people cannot afford to pay, causes financial hardship, stress, and emotional turmoil. The experiences of Oklahomans illustrate how threats of probation revocation and driver’s license suspensions force people to choose between paying what they owe the court and providing necessities for their families. The series highlights the disparities in court debt by zip code and reviews reform models and plans by the Legislature to improve the system. 

You can read the full text of the report here

Key findings

  • About 14 people out of every 1,000 Oklahomans are affected by debt-based or failure-to-appear related driver’s license suspensions.  
  • Court debt prevents many North Tulsa residents from expunging their criminal records. 
  • The use of an iPad allows an Oklahoma judge to ensure people have a hearing within 48 hours following a weekend arrest. 
Tulsa World Staff
Tulsa World