NPR logo Profiles Of Those Forced To 'Pay Or Stay'

Profiles Of Those Forced To 'Pay Or Stay'

A yearlong NPR investigation found that the costs of the criminal justice system in the United States are paid increasingly by the defendants and offenders. In many cases, those defendants are too poor to pay the fines. As a result, the impoverished face harsher treatment — such as more interest charges and even jail time — than those who can afford to pay right away.

Here are just some of the people we found as part of this story. In many cases, their punishment was not for their original crimes but for their inability to pay the rising court costs.

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