Attorney General abandons directive to protect the poor from needless fines
By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-22-2017
Civil rights advocates accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “turning back the clock” on criminal justice reforms after the Department of Justice rescinded Obama-era guidance that protected low-income defendants from being forced to pay gratuitous fees to local courts.
“Profit-minded court policies targeting the most economically vulnerable Americans have resulted in a resurgence of unconstitutional but widespread practices penalizing the poor and people of color,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. “Attorney General Jeff Session’s decision to retract guidance from the Justice Department rooting out practices resulting in a perpetual cycle of fines, debt and jail of America’s poor is a horrifying step backwards in ongoing efforts to reform the criminal justice system.” Continue reading