Source: Vera Institute of Justice, 2016
The New Orleans criminal justice system, like many other local systems across the country, operates significantly on funding generated from the people cycling through it—from bail and associated fees before trial, to fines and fees levied after conviction. These practices come with hidden costs to defendants—the majority of whom are poor and black—and taxpayers alike. Such “user fees” are often set without consideration of the defendants’ financial means and failure to pay can keep someone behind bars or land them back in jail. This perpetuates an overreliance on local incarceration that exacts significant unnecessary costs on individuals, communities, and taxpayers alike. This explainer video from the Past Due project sheds light on fines, fees, and financial bail in New Orleans.
The Financial Firm That Cornered the Market on Jails
Source: Arun Gupta, The Nation, August 1, 2016
Thousands of arrestees a year are forced into get-out-of-jail-broke cards that are loaded up with deceptive fees.