University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Long harm of the law: Monetary sanctions and their symbiotic harms

Daniel Boches and co-authors Brittany Martin, Andrea Giuffre, Amairini Sanches, Aubrianne Sutherland, and Sarah Shannon examine the extensive impacts—called symbiotic harms—of legal fines and fees on friends and family of system-involved individuals. This work draws insight from a series of semi-structured interviews at multiple sites in Georgia and Missouri.

Takeaways

  • Monetary sanctions include a wide array of fines and fees associated with legal-system involvement, the negative financial implications of which easily spread through broader social networks.
  • Family members often pay for system-involved individuals’ legal fines and fees, stretching already-thin household budgets to do so.
  • Court actors such as probation officers are known to use coercive tactics to pressure family members to pay legal fines and fees, amounting to state-sanctioned extortion.

Categories

Court System, Family & Partnering, Family & Partnering General, Fines & Fees, Justice System, Place, Place General

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