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Poverty and wealth

  • (New) Philadelphia Bail Watch Report Findings and Recommendations based on 611 Bail Hearings Philadelphia Bail Fund & Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, October, 2018“Philadelphia's preliminary arraignment system disadvantages individuals charged with crimes and, as a result, threatens one of the most sacred principles in our nation's criminal justice system: a person is innocent until proven guilty”
  • (New) Under Pressure: How fines and fees hurt people, undermine public safety, and drive Alabama's racial wealth divide Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, October, 2018(83% of people surveyed gave up necessities like rent, food, medical bills, car payments, and child support, in order to pay down their court debt.)
  • Nowhere to Go: Homelessness among formerly incarcerated people Prison Policy Initiative, August, 2018“Formerly incarcerated people are almost 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public.”
  • Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force: Report and Recommendations Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force, March, 2018(Money bail should not be used to simply detain defendants. Rather than relying on bond schedules, courts should assess each defendant's risk of non-appearance and danger to the community using a uniform risk assessment tool.)
  • Presumed Innocent for a Price: The Impact of Cash Bail Across Eight New York Counties New York Civil Liberties Union, March, 2018(This report shows that over a five year period, tens of thousands of New Yorkers were jailed without having had their day in court simply because they could not pay bail.)
  • A Pound of Flesh The Criminalization of Private Debt American Civil Liberties Union, February, 2018“Arrests stemming from private debt are devastating communities across the country, and amount to a silent financial crisis that, due to longstanding racial & economic inequalities, is disproportionately affecting people of color & low-income communities.”
  • "Set up to Fail": The Impact of Offender-Funded Private Probation on the Poor Human Rights Watch, February, 2018“This report examines the use and impact of privatized probation services for misdemeanor offenses in four US states, and provides recommendations to protect against the abuses of criminal justice debt.”
  • Civil Asset Forfeiture: Forfeiting Your Rights Southern Poverty Law Center, January, 2018(This report finds that civil asset forfeiture snares mostly low-level offenders and many individuals who are never charged with a crime in the first place into an unequal system that undercuts due process and property rights.)
  • Policing the Houseless 2.0 Million Dollar Hoods, December, 2017“This report documents that LAPD arrests of houseless persons continued to climb during the first six months of 2017 and that just five charge categories accounted for the majority of houseless arrests.”
  • The Price for Freedom: Bail in the City of L.A. Million Dollar Hoods, December, 2017(The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), using the Los Angeles County Superior Court's misdemeanor and felony bail schedules, levied over $19 billion in money bail on persons they arrested between 2012 and 2016.)
  • Criminal Justice Debt Costs and Consequences The Fortune Society, October, 2017“In the United States today, people owe local, state, and federal governments billions of dollars in unpaid debt related to contact with the criminal justice system.”
  • Trends in State Courts Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices"Challenges and Opportunities National Center for State Courts, July, 2017“Low-income offenders in many towns and cities are faced with paying fines and fees they simply cannot afford, often leading to even more fees and late charges.”
  • Paying More for Being Poor: Bias and Disparity in California's Traffic Court System Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, May, 2017“The available county-level data shows that African-American people in particular are four to sixteen times more likely to be booked on arrests related to failure to pay an infraction ticket.”
  • How much do incarcerated people earn in each state? Wendy Sawyer, Prison Policy Initiative, April, 2017“[P]risons appear to be paying incarcerated people less today than they were in 2001. The average of the minimum daily wages paid to incarcerated workers for non-industry prison jobs is now 87 cents, down from 93 cents reported in 2001.”
  • Sentencing Outcomes in U.S. District Courts: Can Offenders' Educational Attainment Guard Against Prevalent Criminal Stereotypes? Travis W. Franklin, Sam Houston State University, February, 2017“[C]ourt actors may be less concerned (or not at all concerned) with factors typically linked to perceptions of dangerousness (e.g., race, ethnicity, age, sex, detention status) when dealing with offenders of higher educational status.”
  • How Do People in High-Crime, Low-Income Communities View the Police? Urban Institute, February, 2017“27.8% of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that police almost always behave according to the law. Approximately one-third agreed or strongly agreed that police stand up for values that are important to them and often arrest people for no good reason.”
  • Helping Moms, Dads, & Kids To Come Home: Eliminating Barriers to Housing for People with Criminal Records Legal Action Center, December, 2016“America’s “revolving-door” approach to mass incarceration is inextricably linked to the problem of homelessness.”
  • Highlights from the U.S. PIAAC Survey of Incarcerated Adults: Their Skills, Work Experience, Education, and Training National Center for Education Statistics, November, 2016“Around two-thirds of the survey’s respondents reported that they were working prior to their incarceration: about half of them were employed full-time, with another 16 percent working part-time.”
  • Ban The Box In Employment: A Grassroots History All Of Us or None (Legal Services for Prisoners With Children), October, 2016“Today, between all of the states and localities that have Ban the Box, over 185 million Americans now live in areas that have adopted fair chance hiring policies.”
  • The Economic Burden of Incarceration in the U.S. Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation, October, 2016“This study estimates the annual economic burden of incarceration in the United States [by including] important social aggregate burden of one trillion dollars.”
  • Confronting Criminal Justice Debt: A Guide for Policy Reform Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School, September, 2016“By disproportionately burdening poor people with financial sanctions, and by jailing people who lack the means to pay, many jurisdictions have created a two-tiered system of criminal justice.”
  • Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Statistical Discrimination: A Field Experiment University of Michigan, June, 2016“Our results confirm that criminal records are a major barrier to employment, but they also support the concern that BTB policies encourage statistical discrimination on the basis of race.”
  • Jobs After Jail: Ending the prison to poverty pipeline Alliance for a Just Society, February, 2016“For the 70 million adults with a serious misdemeanor or felony arrest or conviction record and the hundreds of thousands more each year released from prison, their record can be a life sentence of poverty and low wages.”
  • Right to Counsel in Utah: An Assessment of Trial-Level Indigent Defense Services Sixth Amendment Center, October, 2015“Utah’s trial courts do not uniformly provide counsel to indigent defendants at all critical stages of criminal cases as required by the U.S. Supreme Court[.]”
  • The Degree of Disadvantage: Incarceration and Inequality in Education Stephanie Ewert, Bryan L. Sykes, and Becky Pettit, November, 2013“Nearly three in ten white male dropouts in the United States can expect to serve time in a state or federal correctional facility in their lifetime, and nearly 60 percent of black male dropouts are imprisoned at some point in their lives...”
  • Realigning Justice Resources A Review of Population and Spending Shifts in Prison and Community Corrections Vera Institute of Justice, September, 2012“Between 2009 and 2010, Vera observed a stark downward shift in expenditures across many states and systems of prison and community corrections despite variations in population change—a consequence, perhaps, of shrinking state budgets.”
  • The Hidden Costs of Criminal Justice Debt Brennan Center for Justice, October, 2010“Although 'debtors' prison' is illegal in all states, reincarcerating individuals for failure to pay debt is, in fact, common in some -- and in all states new paths back to prison are emerging for those who owe criminal justice debt.”
  • In For a Penny The Rise of America's New Debtors' Prisons American Civil Liberties Union, October, 2010“Incarcerating indigent defendants unable to pay their legal financial obligations often ends up costing much more than states and counties can ever hope to recover.”
  • Compounded Disadvantage Race, Incarceration, and Wage Growth National Poverty Center, October, 2008“Multilevel growth curve models show that black inmates earn considerably less than white inmates, even after considering human capital variables and prior work histories. Furthermore, racial divergence in wages among inmates increases following release...”
  • Profiting from the Poor A Report on Predatory Probation Companies in Georgia Southern Center for Human Rights, July, 2008“The privatization of misdemeanor probation has placed unprecedented law enforcement authority in the hands of for-profit companies that act essentially as collection agencies.”
  • Repaying Debts Justice Center, October, 2007“Financial pressures and paycheck garnishment resulting from unpaid debt can increase participation in the underground economy and discourage legitimate employment.”
  • Resources of the Prosecution and Indigent Defense Functions in Tennessee The Spangenberg Group (commissioned by the Tennessee Justice Project), June, 2007“[I]ndigent prosecution funding is between two and two-and-a-half times greater than indigent defense funding.”
  • An Analysis of the Performance of Federal Indigent Defense Counsel National Bureau of Economic Research, June, 2007“The federal indigent defense system relies on both salaried government workers... and hourly-wage earning court-appointed private [CJA] attorneys.... Defendants with CJA ... attorneys are... more likely to be found guilty and... receive longer sentences.”
  • Abandoned & Abused: Orleans Parish Prison in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina ACLU National Prison Project, August, 2006
  • Treated Like Trash: Juvenile Detention in New Orleans Before, During, and After Hurricane Katrina Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, May, 2006“In their own words, a harrowing tale of escape, mismanagement and neglect unfolds, illustrating deep problems in New Orleans' system of juvenile justice and how we treat children in New Orleans.”
  • A Report on Pre- and Post-Katrina Indigent Defense in New Orleans Southern Center for Human Rights, April, 2006“More than six months after Katrina, a majority of [indigent defendants] remain behind bars, where they have languished on average for over a year without any communication with a defense attorney.”
  • Human Rights in the Heartland: An assessment of social, economic, civil, and political rights in the Midwest Heartland Alliance, December, 2005“Historically, the U.S. has been a beacon of hope for those seeking safety and opportunity, but our nation falls short of its potential in assuring a full complement of human rights - civil, political, social, economic, and cultural.”
  • Mass Imprisonment and the Life Course: Race and Class Inequality in U.S. Incarceration Becky Pettit and Bruce Western, May, 2004
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer...: A report on Georgia's failed indigent defense system Southern Center for Human Rights, February, 2003
  • Assembly Line Justice: Mississippi's Indigent Defense Crisis NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, February, 2003
  • Life Sentences: Denying Welfare Benefits to Women Convicted of Drug Offenses Sentencing Project, February, 2002
  • Incarceration, Reentry and Social Capital: Social Networks in the Balance Dina Rose and Todd Clear, January, 2002
  • State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999 Bureau of Justice Statistics, September, 2001
  • Muting Gideon's Trumpet: The Crisis in Indigent Criminal Defense in Texas Committee on Legal Services to the Poor on Criminal Matters, February, 2001
  • Promises to Keep: Achieving Fairness and Equal Justice for the Poor in Criminal Cases Southern Center for Human Rights, November, 2000
  • Defense Counsel in Criminal Cases Bureau of Justice Statistics, November, 2000“Two of three felony defendants represented by publicly-financed counsel”
  • Indigent Defense Services in Large Counties, 1999 Bureau of Justice Statistics, November, 2000
  • Selling Justice Short: Juvenile Indigent Defense in Texas Texas Appleseed, October, 2000
  • Neither Equal Nor Just: The Rationing and Denial of Legal Services to the Poor When Life and Liberty Are at Stake Stephen B. Bright, 1999
  • Profile of anti-drug law enforcement in urban poverty areas in Massachusetts William N. Brownsberger, November, 1997
  • Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer Stephen B. Bright, May, 1994

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