Personal Narrative: Keilee Fant

Related litigation: Fant et al. v. City of Ferguson

Keilee Fant is a 37-year-old certified nurse assistant and single mother who was arrested for unpaid traffic tickets while taking her children to school. She was jailed over 12 times in 20 years for her inability to pay the debt.  She was released from one jail but kept in jail because of debt owed in other cities. She was transferred to various jails spending at least three days in each. Eventually, she was told she would be released if she paid $1400. Ms. Fant bargained with the jail staff and they reduced the amount to $1000, which her family paid.

When she was finally released, jail officers informed her that she no longer needed to appear in court but she needed to make cash payments at the Ferguson Police Department. Failure to pay would result in arrest. Ms. Fant was informed that warrants would only be removed with cash payments to the City.

During her various stints of incarceration, she lost several jobs, was forced to rely on food stamps, and even missed her father’s funeral. The City told Ms. Fant’s family that to be released for her father’s funeral, they would need to pay thousands of dollars.  Further, on another occasion, Ms. Fant was jailed for 50 days and never received a toothbrush, toothpaste or change of clothes.

Keilee Fant still has outstanding court fines and fees and is in constant fear of arrest for her inability to pay the debt.