Join the Harvard Law Consumer Protection Group for a discussion on criminal justice debt and its impacts with National Consumer Law Center staff attorney Ariel Nelson, HLS’15. Criminal justice debt has soared in recent years as governments have attempted to use fines and fees to cover the cost of the criminal legal system as well as government operations generally. People charged with low-level misdemeanors or infractions, for example, may find themselves burdened with unaffordable fines, surcharges, and “user fees” related to the costs of policing and adjudicating the offenses. Harsh collection tactics, like suspending driver’s licenses and arresting people for nonpayment, trap people in poverty and in the criminal legal system. Due to systemic racism in the criminal legal system and the longstanding racial wealth gap, the harms of criminal justice debt are disproportionately borne by communities of color.
Ariel Nelson will provide an introduction to criminal justice debt issues and highlight some of the work that advocates are doing to address the harms. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.
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