Shackles Beyond the Sentence: How Legal Financial Obligations Create a Permanent Underclass
1 Impact 46 (2015)
6 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 9, 2015
This essay argues that legal financial obligations (LFOs) literally make the poor pay for failed criminal justice policy. Reliance on mass imprisonment has created a financial vortex, which sucks away the majority of over $50 billion spent on corrections by the states alone. This penal entrenchment has pushed legislatures to devise ways to make criminals help foot the bill, with LFOs representing a modern iteration of state and local fundraising. LFOs add to an array of legal consequences that create a permanent underclass and keep a lock on individuals long after they leave prison. It is a schema that serves little social or penal purpose, and instead embodies the worst of bad policy undermining the criminal justice system.
Keywords: LFO, Legal Financial Obligations, Financial Penalties, Collateral Consequences, Reentry
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation