Criminalization of Poverty
No person should be penalized simply for being poor. Yet, too often people with lower incomes are burdened with cripplingly high fines and fees for traffic tickets and minor civil offenses. If they are unable to pay, they can become entrapped in cycles of debt, arrest, and even incarceration. The consequences can be devastating – affecting their future employability, family stability, and broader communities. People are also criminalized for homelessness through encampment restrictions and sweeps that can lead to ticketing, fines, and arrest.
Public Counsel works to end the criminalization of poverty through policy change, impact litigation, and direct services and advocacy to address minor traffic citations, warrants, quality of life citations, related fines, and expungements.