Not a Crime To Be Poor: Criminalization of Poverty in America by Peter Edelman
Most Americans believe debtors’ prisons are a thing of the past. Yet today, people are in jail by the thousands for no other reason that that they are poor. AS the Justice Department found when it investigated police practices in Ferguson, Missouri, massive fines and fees are levied for minor crimes such as broken taillights and rolling through stop signs, and when the poor cannot pay, the result is an epidemic of repeated stays in jail. Bail is routinely set without consideration of the defendants’ ability to pay, resulting in one king of justice system for those who can buy their way out and another harshly punitive one for those who can’t.
In Not A Crime To Be Poor, Georgetown law professor Peter Edelman argues that Ferguson is everywhere in America today. Through money bail systems, fees and fines, drivers license suspensions by the millions, strictly enforced laws against behavior including vagrancy and public urination that largely affect the homeless, and the substation of prisons and jails for the mental hospital that have traditionally served the impoverished, one of the richest countries on Earth ash effectively criminalized poverty. © 276 pages
Paperback published in 2017