By Alexes Harris
Over seven million american citizens are both incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, with their legal documents frequently following them for all times and affecting entry to better schooling, jobs, and housing. Court-ordered financial sanctions that compel felony defendants to pay fines, charges, surcharges, and restitution additional inhibit their skill to reenter society. In A Pound of Flesh, sociologist Alexes Harris analyzes the increase of economic sanctions within the felony justice process and exhibits how they completely penalize and marginalize the negative. She exposes the dangerous results of a little-understood component to felony sentencing and exhibits the way it additional perpetuates racial and monetary inequality.
Harris attracts from broad sentencing info, criminal records, observations of courtroom hearings, and interviews with defendants, judges, prosecutors, and different court docket officers. She records how low-income defendants are tormented by financial sanctions, which come with charges for public defenders and quite a few processing fees. until eventually those accounts are paid in complete, members stay below judicial supervision, topic to court docket summons, warrants, and penitentiary remains. because of curiosity and surcharges that collect on unpaid monetary consequences, those financial sanctions frequently develop into insurmountable criminal bills which many offenders hold for the rest of their lives. Harris reveals that such monetary sentences, that are imposed disproportionately on low-income minorities, support create an everlasting monetary underclass and deepen social stratification.
A Pound of Flesh delves into the court docket practices of 5 counties in Washington kingdom to demonstrate the ways that subjective sentencing shapes the perform of economic sanctions. Judges and court docket clerks carry a substantial measure of discretion within the sentencing and tracking of economic sanctions and depend upon person values—such as own accountability, meritocracy, and paternalism—to be certain how a lot and while offenders should still pay. Harris exhibits that financial sanctions are imposed at various premiums throughout jurisdictions, with very little kingdom executive oversight. neighborhood officers’ reliance all alone values and ideology may also push offenders additional into debt—for instance, while judges cost defendants who lack the potential to pay their fines with contempt of court docket and penalize them with extra fines or detention center time.
A Pound of Flesh presents a well timed exam of ways financial sanctions completely bind bad offenders to the judicial procedure. Harris concludes that during letting financial sanctions pass unchecked, we've created a two-tiered felony process that imposes extra burdens on already-marginalized groups.
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Additional resources for A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor (Amer Sociological Association's Rose Ser)
A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor (Amer Sociological Association's Rose Ser) by Alexes Harris