Criminalizing Poverty Blog

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OPD's Criminalizing Poverty Blog

News and articles related to the criminalization of poverty. For more, please go to our "resources" page.

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DOJ Issues Advisory on Juvenile Court Costs

The Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Office for Civil Rights recently issued an advisory about the levying of fines and fees on juveniles. Of note, the advisory acknowledges that juveniles are generally unable to pay fines and fees themselves and that these court costs burden families that may already have difficulty paying for things like “food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities.” Further, court costs may “foreclose educational opportunities for system-involved youth or other family members.” It also points out that fines and fees actually increase the risk of recidivism rather than help rehabilitate youth.

Nationally Broadcast Ohio Town-Hall Event Focused on Excessive Fines, Fees, and Bail

In December 2016, PBS aired two episodes of The Tavis Smiley Show which consisted of a town hall-style meeting, featuring the participation of four current or former Ohio judges.  The town hall was designed to bring awareness to issues surrounding the imposition and collection of fines and fees, and also the problems caused by current approaches to pretrial bail.  

Welcome to the Criminalizing Poverty Blog

The Criminalizing Poverty Webpage and Blog was started by Office of the Ohio Public Defender's Racial Justice Initiative in order to raise awareness about how the court system targets low-income individuals for costs, fees, and fines that they are generally unable to pay, and to provide resources to defenders to help attack these practices.