Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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America can't afford a justice system paid for by the poor.


You get arrested and held on bail - you owe $500 or $1,000 and you don't have it. There are thousands and thousands of others in that situation. They get their families to find money that they don't have - they might not pay the rent, they might not pay the bills, they might sell plasma - and the authorities don't care. If you come up with the money, it's 'thank you very much, we'll move on to abusing the next person.'

Law professor Peter Edelman explores the expansion of financial punishments for the poor in America - as arbitrary fines for offenses funnel money out of already impoverished communities back into the legal system itself and the corporations increasingly central to its operation, feeding more dollars and lives into a system looking more like a loansharking venture than a justice system.

Peter is author of Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America from The New Press.

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Peter Edelman

Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and the faculty director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center.


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