By Alexes Harris
Over seven million american citizens are both incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, with their felony files usually following them for all times and affecting entry to raised schooling, jobs, and housing. Court-ordered financial sanctions that compel legal defendants to pay fines, charges, surcharges, and restitution extra inhibit their skill to reenter society. In A Pound of Flesh, sociologist Alexes Harris analyzes the increase of financial sanctions within the felony justice procedure and indicates how they completely penalize and marginalize the terrible. She exposes the harmful results of a little-understood component to legal sentencing and exhibits the way it additional perpetuates racial and financial 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 laid low with financial sanctions, which come with charges for public defenders and a number of processing fees. until eventually those accounts are paid in complete, contributors stay below judicial supervision, topic to courtroom summons, warrants, and reformatory remains. due to curiosity and surcharges that gather on unpaid monetary consequences, those financial sanctions usually turn into insurmountable criminal accounts which many offenders hold for the rest of their lives. Harris unearths that such monetary sentences, that are imposed disproportionately on low-income minorities, support create an everlasting fiscal underclass and deepen social stratification.
A Pound of Flesh delves into the courtroom practices of 5 counties in Washington nation 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 make sure how a lot and while offenders may still pay. Harris indicates that financial sanctions are imposed at diverse premiums throughout jurisdictions, with very little nation 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 capacity to pay their fines with contempt of courtroom and penalize them with extra fines or prison time.
A Pound of Flesh offers a well timed exam of the way financial sanctions completely bind terrible offenders to the judicial procedure. Harris concludes that during letting financial sanctions pass unchecked, now we have created a two-tiered criminal process that imposes extra burdens on already-marginalized groups.
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Additional info 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