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Are court fees pushing people into poverty? | Ways to Save 20-40% of your pay

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As reported on NPR by Joseph Shapiro,  

"In Augusta, Ga., a judge sentenced Tom Barrett to 12 months after he stole a can of beer worth less than $2.

In Ionia, Mich., 19-year-old Kyle Dewitt caught a fish out of season; then a judge sentenced him to three days in jail.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., Stephen Papa, a homeless Iraq War veteran, spent 22 days in jail, not for what he calls his "embarrassing behavior" after he got drunk with friends and climbed into an abandoned building, but because he had only $25 the day he went to court....people sometimes go to jail when they fall behind paying these fees.

 Read the rest of Joseph Shapiro's story...


Alexes Harris is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington.  Her degrees in the field of Sociology are from the University of Washington (B.A., 1997) and the University of California, Los Angeles (M.A., 1999; Ph.D., 2002).  Her research and teaching areas include the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  She is currently researching the process and consequences of Legal Financial Obligations assessed to individuals convicted of felonies in Washington State and the process of "re-entry" post conviction.  Her research has been published in Law and Society Review, The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Race and Social Problems and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Sociology.