The Criminal Justice Debt Penalty


Contact with the criminal justice system can lead to severe long-term financial consequences for offenders, according to a new paper from the Center for Research and Evaluation at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

The paper's author, Douglas Evans, catalogues the myriad ways that “mere contact with the criminal justice system often results in fees and fines that increase with progression through the system.”

Court fees, restitution, child support, arrest fees and other incarceration-related charges can all contribute to a person's accumulated debt, Evans writes.

And late fees and interest charges compound the problem, which can often lead to further incarceration.

“Even after completing court-imposed punishments, (former defendants) may have difficulty finding employment, and if they do manage to get a job, their criminal history negatively affects the quality of the job, their job security, and their wage growth,” Evans writes.

Read the full paper HERE.

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