Gladden Legal, LLC

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July 2019 Archives

Criminal justice system skewed against the poor

Poverty can have a major impact on how people in Georgia interact with the criminal justice system. In particular, impoverished people may find it extremely difficult to escape an escalating series of fines that can lead to criminal records, debt, imprisonment and even more serious poverty. Across the country, local and state officials are relying on the proceeds of court fines and citations to balance their budgets. This means that the burden often falls disproportionately on the poor because they are unable to pay these fees. As a result, people may wind up imprisoned or with serious criminal records, even though they had only minor citations when the process began.

Asset forfeiture is seen as a way to generate revenue

According to a study released by the Institute for Justice, asset forfeiture programs had a negligible impact on crime rates. Specifically, the study found that more money didn't result in additional cases solved or a decrease in drug use. Another key takeaway was that property was more likely to be seized during times of budgetary pressure at the local level. When unemployment rates went up, residents of Texas or other states were more likely to have assets seized by authorities.

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