Over seven million americans 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 exhibits how they completely penalize and marginalize the negative. She exposes the harmful results of a little-understood section of felony sentencing and exhibits the way it extra perpetuates racial and fiscal inequality.
Harris attracts from vast sentencing information, criminal files, observations of court docket hearings, and interviews with defendants, judges, prosecutors, and different courtroom officers. She records how low-income defendants are laid low with financial sanctions, which come with charges for public defenders and numerous processing fees. till those accounts are paid in complete, members stay less than judicial supervision, topic to courtroom summons, warrants, and prison remains. because of curiosity and surcharges that gather on unpaid monetary consequences, those financial sanctions frequently turn into insurmountable criminal money owed which many offenders hold for the rest of their lives. Harris unearths that such economic 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 court docket practices of 5 counties in Washington country 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 financial sanctions and depend on person values—such as own accountability, meritocracy, and paternalism—to make sure how a lot and whilst offenders may still pay. Harris exhibits that financial sanctions are imposed at diverse premiums throughout jurisdictions, with very little kingdom govt oversight. neighborhood officers’ reliance all alone values and ideology may also push offenders extra 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 penitentiary time.
A Pound of Flesh presents a well timed exam of the way financial sanctions completely bind terrible offenders to the judicial process. Harris concludes that during letting financial sanctions cross unchecked, we've created a two-tiered criminal approach that imposes extra burdens on already-marginalized groups.