This project examines the role of monetary sanctions in equity-centered criminal justice reform. Monetary sanctions have long been a critical part of the United States’ criminal justice system but have only recently been under the academic and social microscope to see how they affect individuals of different demographics. With social movements and popular culture bringing necessary attention to reforming practices of injustice in the court system—such as upending disparities in criminal sentencing based on racial identity—it is arguable that monetary sanctions also need to be explored as an entity that can be changed in order to level the playing field. This project expands upon former scholarly work to offer contemporary comprehensive policy suggestions that will guide state criminal justice systems to be equity oriented in their administration of justice. As a result of this research, I argue that state legislatures can further make criminal justice an equitable environment for indigent defendants by implementing laws to account for a person’s status and ultimately restructuring the justice system’s finances.
- Fellow: Marc Younker