In this essay, Marsh and Gerrick challenge the most common justification for why debtors’ prisons still exist in present-day America: generating revenue to fund local government and courts. The authors argue that revenue generation is an “incomplete explanation” for debtor’s prisons and point to a variety of other factors that could help complete the picture.
This report documents how and when youth and families face fines, fees and restitution and the economic and legal consequences for failure to pay.
The article provides an overview of criminal justice fines and fees; applies the Sixth Amendment jury trial right to these fines and fees; considers the question of “when criminal justice debt rises to the level of punishment; and suggests several solutions to the problem.
Defendant argued that the imposition of court fines and fees is a tax, violated the separation of powers doctrine, and failed to comply with the Distinct Statement Clause.
This Act reduces the amount of fees charged to individuals who receive a minor traffic or municipal ordinance violation and changes the procedure for charging fines and fees to people who receive minor traffic or municipal ordinance violations.
In Pagedale, MO, the local government was using arrest warrants to collect civil debt from municipal code violations. A suit against the city resulted in a consent decree that reformed the city's ticketing, housing code, and court systems.
On appeal, the Court found, per curiam, a trial court may not revoke a defendant’s probation and send him to prison unless there is a finding that he or she has the ability to pay restitution and is in willful default.
Plaintiffs alleged that the City of Austin jails people who are unable to pay court fines and fees. There is no inquiry into their ability to pay, no appointment of counsel, and community service is not offered as an alternative.
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.