Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration

bcj_logoThis publication from the Brennan Center for Justice discusses court-imposed legal fees incurred by a substantial number of individuals who become involved with the criminal justice system, and the impact of such fees. According to the report, it is estimated that 10 million people collectively owe more than $50 billion in debt resulting in legal fees. These fees include charges for police transport, case filing, felony surcharges, electronic monitoring, drug testing, sex offender registration, and more. Unlike fines, which are intended to punish and provide restitution, the purpose of legal fees is to raise revenue. The report also provides recommendations to policymakers on how to minimize the use of such fees.