Paying on Probation: How Financial Sanctions Intersect with Probation to Target, Trap, and Punish People Who Cannot Pay explores the harmful link that exists in many jurisdictions between payment of fines, fees, and restitution and probation supervision. When payment of court sanctioned fines, fees, and restitution are made a condition of probation, the harms of both systems of punishment are exacerbated. People who have to pay court debt as a condition of probation face increased debt and financial instability, burdensome probation conditions, and harsh punishments, including incarceration and extended entanglement in the system. As discussed in our report, many of the harms caused by the intersection of probation and financial sanctions come from the broad discretion afforded to probation departments, a lack of transparency and oversight over probation department decisions, and wide variation in both policy and practice within and across jurisdictions. Our research makes clear that when payment of financial sanctions is tied to probation, poor people end up owing more and are punished more harshly just because they are unable to pay. For this reason, we argue that the link between payment of financial sanctions and probation should be severed.

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Click the link below to download the CJPP report, "Paying on Probation: How Financial Sanctions Intersect with Probation to Target, Trap, and Punish People Who Cannot Pay," released in June 2020.

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