66 percent of people on probation make less than $20,000 per year.
The imposition of unaffordable probation fees punishes poverty and places them at risk of being jailed when they cannot pay. Most states charge monthly probation fees, while others use “reasonableness” as the only statutory guideline. This report analyzes data from the 2016-2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health to provide a descriptive, nationally representative picture of the population on probation, most of whom are poor.
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- 38 percent of people on probation make less than $10,000 per year.
- Only nine percent of people on probation make more than $50,000 per year.
- Failure to pay probation fees can extend probation sentences or result in driver’s license revocation, mandatory work programs, or incarceration.
- In states where probation fees can cost $50 or more each month, over 50 percent of people on probation make less than $20,000 annually.
- Monthly probation fees in Louisiana range from $71 to $121, even though 69 percent of people on probation make less than $20,000 per year.