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Monetary Sanctions: Using Fines and Fees to Punish the Poor

  • Alexes Harris
  • July 19 2017
  • W34-2017

The growth of the U.S. criminal justice system over the last 50 years is by now well known, but the use of fines, fees, and other monetary sanctions as a form of punishment has only recently begun to receive attention. In this webinar, University of Washington sociologist Alexes Harris will discuss the use of monetary sanctions by municipal and state courts and how this form of punishment reinforces existing inequalities in the United States. Drawing on research from her 2016 book, Pound of Flesh: Monetary Legal Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor, Harris will describe how these kinds of fine- and fee-based punishments are used at the local level and how a different set of policies could lead to better outcomes for those involved with the criminal justice system.


Court System, Fines & Fees, Inequality & Mobility, Justice System, Racial/Ethnic Inequality