The following excerpt was featured in UW Today by James Urton…
Research Team Tracks Complex Web of Monetary Sanctions in 9 States
“The phrase ‘criminal justice system’ may conjure images of courtrooms, juries and prison. But “when justice is doled out, it increasingly impacts the pocketbook,” according to Alexes Harris, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington.
Harris leads a team of researchers at nine universities who are exploring the role of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system. They recently completed a review of financial punishments in the laws of each of their home states. Based on their preliminary findings, the impact to a person’s pocketbook depends largely on his or her location on a map.
‘There is an extreme amount of variation — both between states and within states — on how, when and where monetary sanctions are imposed by court officials,’ said Harris. ‘It’s a mess, and there are few guidelines and no national framework governing the use of monetary sanctions.'”