Providence Community Corrections (PCC), a private for profit organization, was the manager of the misdemeanor probation system for Rutherford County, Tennessee. Those who could afford to pay the fees were placed on unsupervised probation, those who could not were supervised by PCC. PCC was funded solely by the people it supervised. Probationers were threatened with arrest and revocation of probation which would result in additional fees and court costs.
This case alleged that the City of Biloxi operated a debtor’s prison, routinely jailing indigent people who could not afford to pay fines and fees imposed in traffic and misdemeanor cases.
This case challenged Benton County, Washington’s practice of incarcerating indigent defendants for failure to pay court fines and fees without any inquiry into their financial status or ability to pay.
In Alexander City, municipal court defendants must pay their court fines and fees from traffic debt in full by the end of the court day, usually 3:00 p.m. Persons unable to pay are forced to sit out their time in city jail, at the rate of $20 per day until someone pays their debt.
Plaintiff, a 20 year old college student, was sentenced to jail because he was unable to pay a $206 statutory fine with $33 in court costs for throwing a cigarette butt out of his car window.
Plaintiff’s complaint requested that the Circuit Court for the County of Macomb take superintending control over the 38th District Court, requiring Judge Carl F. Gerds III to refrain from imposing pay or stay sentences on indigent defendants who are unable to pay their court debt.
This research paper “examines the contributing factors which make collection of felony fines and [fees in Florida] significantly lower than collections for all other case types” and analyzes why felony collection enforcement is especially difficult.
This 2015 report provides a comprehensive overview of how California’s approach to the enforcement of fines and fees for traffic violations creates a two-tiered justice system—those who can afford to pay escape the system, while those who are too poor to pay are trapped.
Red Hills Community Probation, LLC contracted with local governments to supervise probation. Defendants unable to pay their court fines and fees were placed on probation.
Over the course of six months in 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court Ability to Pay workgroup examined the issue of ability to pay and published a report with tools, best practices, and recommendations for judges and court staff around nonpayment incarceration.