Guilty And Charged An NPR investigation has found an explosion in the use of fees charged to criminal defendants across the country, which created a system of justice that targets the poor.
Special Series

Guilty And Charged

Monday

Desiree Seats, 23, lost her license for two years before she even got it because of an unpaid fine. Without a license, she couldn't find the jobs she needed to start earning money. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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Joseph Shapiro/NPR

Can't Pay Your Fines? Your License Could Be Taken

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Monday

People line up to take part in an amnesty program to clear up outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants in August 2013, in Ferguson, Mo. For those living on the economic margins, the consequences of even a minor criminal violation can lead to a spiral of debt, unpaid obligations, unemployment and even arrest. Jeff Roberson/AP hide caption

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Jeff Roberson/AP

In Ferguson, Court Fines And Fees Fuel Anger

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Wednesday

Facing Doubts About Court Fines, Lawmakers Take Questions To Heart

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Thursday

Saturday

Tom Barrett returned to the convenience store where he stole a can of beer. He spent time in jail, not for the crime, but because he couldn't afford the fines and fees that went along with wearing an electronic monitoring device. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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Joseph Shapiro/NPR

Measures Aimed At Keeping People Out Of Jail Punish The Poor

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In this photo from the mid-1960s, Kirk Gable, a co-founder of the electronic monitoring belt, uses war surplus missile-tracking equipment to track young adult offenders who are wearing the first electronic monitoring devices. Courtesy of Robert Gable hide caption

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Courtesy of Robert Gable

Thursday

Wednesday

Court Fees Drive Many Poor Defendants Underground

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Kyle Dewitt was sentenced to three days in jail after he was unable to pay fees associated with catching a fish out of season. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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Joseph Shapiro/NPR

Supreme Court Ruling Not Enough To Prevent Debtors Prisons

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Tuesday

Big Fees For The Big Easy's Poorest Defendants

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Unpaid Court Fees Land The Poor In 21st Century Debtors' Prisons

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Monday

The proliferation of court fees has prompted some states, like New Jersey, to use amnesty programs to encourage the thousands of people who owe fines to surrender in exchange for fee reductions. At the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, makeshift courtrooms allow judges to individually handle each case. Nicole Beemsterboer/NPR hide caption

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Nicole Beemsterboer/NPR

As Court Fees Rise, The Poor Are Paying The Price

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Sunday

Court User Fees Bill Defendants For Their Punishment

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