Category Archives: Criminalization of Poverty

Ferguson DOJ Reports

Here, at the bottom of the page and links below as well.

Harv. L. Rev. Recent Legislation: “H.B. 14-1061, 69th Gen. Assemb., 2d Reg. Sess. (Colo. 2014) Colorado Requires On-the-Record Indigency Proceedings Prior to Incarceration for Failure to Pay Fines”

Harv. L. Rev. Recent Legislation: H.B. 14-1061, 69th Gen. Assemb., 2d Reg. Sess. (Colo. 2014) Colorado Requires On-the-Record Indigency Proceedings Prior to Incarceration for Failure to Pay Fines, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 1312 (2015).

New Report: “California’s New Vagrancy Laws: The Growing Enactment and Enforcement of Anti-Homeless Laws in the Golden State”

Berkley ReportNew Report: Marina Fisher, Nathaniel Miller, Lindsay Walter &Jeffrey Selbin, California’s New Vagrancy Laws: The Growing Enactment and Enforcement of Anti-Homeless Laws in the Golden State (2015).  Abstract below:

Vagrancy laws conjure up a distant past when authorities punished people without a home or permanent residence. Whether the objects of pity or scorn, vagrants could be cited or jailed under laws selectively enforced against anyone deemed undesirable. Although such laws have generally been struck down by courts as unconstitutionally vague, today’s “vagrants” are homeless people, who face growing harassment and punishment for their presence in public.

More than one in five homeless people in the country lives in California, and two-thirds are unsheltered. The state legislature has done little to respond to this widespread problem, forcing municipal governments to address homelessness with local laws and resources. Cities have responded by enacting and enforcing new vagrancy laws — a wide range of municipal codes that target or disproportionately impact homeless people.

Through extensive archival research and case studies of several cities, the report presents detailed evidence of the growing enactment and enforcement of municipal anti-homeless laws in recent decades as cities engage in a race to the bottom to push out homeless people. It concludes with a call for a state-level solution to end the expensive and inhumane treatment of some of California’s most vulnerable residents.

New Report: “When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing”

New Report: Marie Claire Tran-Leung, When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing (Shriver Center 2015).

News Article: Jails Have Become Warehouses for the Poor, Ill and Addicted, a Report Says – NYTimes.com

Jails Have Become Warehouses for the Poor, Ill and Addicted, a Report Says – NYTimes.com.

New Article: ““Continually Reminded of Their Inferior Position”: Social Dominance, Implicit Bias, Criminality, and Race”

New Article: Darren Lenard Hutchinson, “Continually Reminded of Their Inferior Position”: Social Dominance, Implicit Bias, Criminality, and Race, 46 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol’y 23 (2014).  Abstract below:

This Article contends that implicit bias theory has improved contemporary understanding of the dynamics of individual bias. Implicit bias research has also helped to explain the persistent racial disparities in many areas of public policy, including criminal law and enforcement. Implicit bias theory, however, does not provide the foundation for a comprehensive analysis of racial inequality. Even if implicit racial biases exist pervasively, these biases alone do not explain broad societal tolerance of vast racial inequality. Instead, as social dominance theorists have found, a strong desire among powerful classes to preserve the benefits they receive from stratification leads to collective acceptance of group-based inequality. Because racial inequality within criminal law and enforcement reinforces the vulnerability of persons of color and replicates historical injuries caused by explicitly racist practices, legal theorists whose work analyzes the intersection of criminality and racial subordination could find that social dominance theory allows for a rich discussion of these issues.

New Report: “The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles”

New Report: Richard Rothstein, The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles (Economic Policy Institute 2014).

How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty – The Washington Post

How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty – The Washington Post.

Pilot Study Preliminary Report: “Got Clean Slate? New Study Suggests that Criminal Record Clearing May Increase Earnings”

Pilot Study Preliminary Report: Jeffrey Selbin & Justin McCrary, Got Clean Slate?  New Study Suggests that Criminal Record Clearing May Increase Earnings, SSRN Aug. 2014.  Abstract below: 

The more staggering impacts of the decades-long wars on crime and drugs are well-known. Almost seven million Americans – one in 35 adults – are incarcerated or under correctional supervision (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013). As many as one in four adult Americans has a criminal record, mostly for arrests and misdemeanors (NELP, 2011). By age 23, almost half of all African American men, more than a third of white men, and almost one in eight women have been arrested (Brame, et al., 2014). Arrest, conviction and incarceration records create collateral consequences that too often serve as a lifelong obstacle to employment, education, housing, public benefits and civic participation (National Institute of Justice, 2013).

Perhaps spurred by these disturbing trends, public defender offices, civil legal aid providers and law school clinics have established “clean slate” programs to help people avail themselves of criminal record clearing remedies. Studies consistently find that people with criminal records have dramatically reduced job prospects and income. However, until now we have had only anecdotal evidence that clean slate programs improve employment outcomes or earnings for people with criminal records. Gainful employment is critical to successful reentry for the tens of millions of Americans with a criminal record because it has the potential to reduce recidivism and related social and economic consequences for individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities.

Through a retrospective study of clients served by the East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate Clinic, we analyzed the impact of obtaining criminal record remedies on their subsequent earnings. To our knowledge, this study is the first quantitative assessment of whether clean slate programs improve reported earnings. Through econometric techniques to control for the effects of changes in the larger economy on earnings, we can report two preliminary findings: 

(1) People with criminal records seek clean slate legal remedies after a prolonged period of declining earnings. This finding has implications for the delivery of clean slate legal services to people with criminal records, including targeting earlier intervention to help prevent deteriorating economic circumstances.

(2) Evidence suggests that the clean slate legal intervention stems the decline in earnings and may even boost earnings. It is too early to tell if the boost is significant and sustained, but halting the decline in earnings suggests that the intervention makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives and is a key component of an effective community reentry strategy.

 

Ferguson: Economic, Political Conditions Fuel Protest Fury – Businessweek

Ferguson: Economic, Political Conditions Fuel Protest Fury – Businessweek.