This report documents that the families of children charged with crimes are forced to pay for the cost of legal counsel in all but 10 U.S. states – despite the Constitution’s guarantee that young people who are indigent are entitled to court-appointed counsel.
Fines and fees are levied at every stage of the criminal justice system. People who are poor and unable to pay them are criminalized and face many collateral consequences in …
In this article for The Poynter Institute, Al Tompkins underscores the importance of journalists covering local jails and suggests several coverage angles that journalists can use to convince readers to care more about incarceration at the local level.
The author argues for an exception to the Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) abstention doctrine (Younger abstention) in cases challenging the criminalization of poverty.
This video describes how people, especially those of fewer means, can be jailed for unpaid court fines and fees.
This report presents the findings from a visit to the United States by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston. He evaluated government programs and policies aimed to address extreme poverty according to the United States' human rights obligations.
The National Council of Juvenile Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) passed a resolution advocating for the reduction or elimination of fines and fees in juvenile courts. The resolution was published alongside a judicial bench card that outlines types of financial obligations that youth and families may encounter in juvenile and family court, details the impacts of those obligations, and explains how judges can address fines and fees in their own courtrooms. The bench card includes several practice recommendations for juvenile and family court judges.
This report exposes how the private debt collection industry uses the court system to coerce payment from people, many of whom cannot afford to pay their debts.
This law review article makes the case that the Eight Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause may be a better, albeit underdeveloped, provision to address the epidemic of debtor’s prisons.
This resolution urges state legislators to limit driver’s license suspensions “to conduct that involves offenders with dangerous driving,” such as driving under the influence or committing multiple moving violations.