The complaint alleges Judge Jared Sigler, Judge John Gerkin, and former Judge Curtis DeLapp (Judicial Defendants) failed to conduct inquiries into individuals’ ability to pay before imposing fines and fees or before sanctioning individuals for nonpayment.
This five-part series uses personal accounts from Oklahomans to show how fines and fees negatively affect people who cannot afford them.
Andria Collins is a mother raising eight children in Oklahoma City, OK. She has been struggling with court debt and drivers’ license suspensions for over a decade.
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.
This report provides a brief history on the disproportionate rise of women’s incarceration in the US and in Oklahoma before explaining four kinds of barriers that prevent mothers from returning to normalcy after they come into contact with the system, with a particular focus on fines and fees.
John was arrested for driving with a suspended license in December 1999 and given $400 in court fines, fees, and costs. It wasn’t until February 2018 – nearly 20 years after he was originally arrested – that he finally completed his sentence by spending 20 days in jail to pay down his debt.
In this report, the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force investigated Oklahoma’s exploding incarceration rates and the judicial policies that contribute to prison overcrowding. The Task Force used their analysis to develop 27 policy recommendations aimed at improving public safety by reducing recidivism and reforming sentencing policies.
This Oklahoma bill, which did not pass, would have amended statutes related to life without parole sentences, payment plans for fines and fees, and how the requirement of restitution can affect conditions of supervision.
For individuals who are unable to pay their fines and fees, their total debt may be cited and entered into the district court judgement docket. A judge may also replace fines and fees with court-ordered community service (credited at a minimum rate of at least federal minimum wage), if community service doesn’t cause undue hardship.