On September 17, 2015, Alabama Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins opened his court session by giving two options to people who did not have the money to pay their court fines and fees: give blood, or go to jail.
This report is the result of a collaborative research project from 20 community-based organizations that studied the costs of incarceration on families across 14 states.
In this policy brief, L.B. Eisen explains how imposing fees upon incarcerated people perpetuates mass incarceration. The brief outlines describes contemporary fee practices, explores the history of those fees, analyzes their constitutionality, and makes several policy recommendations to mitigate collateral consequences.
In this video, John Oliver details the devastating impacts that low-income Americans suffer due to fines and fees and the involvement of private probation companies.
Donyale Thomas was in the Ferguson jail for over a week before the City informed her that they would accept $200 for her release.
Roelif Carter pled guilty and was assessed fines and fees. Fear of jail coerced Mr. Carter to make the payment until he simply could not afford to do so.
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.
This video by Human Rights Watch shows how private probation companies can strip people of basic necessities and jail them because they can’t afford to pay their court debt and exorbitant probation fees.
This guide by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators discusses how suspending driver’s licenses for non-safety related reasons is ineffective and counter-productive: it diminishes the deterrent effect and perceived legitimacy of license suspension, as well as the efficacy of law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and motor vehicle agencies.
This publication uses personal accounts of people in five different states who struggled to pay their court debt to illustrate the negative effects of debtors’ prisons on individuals, the economy, and the justice system.