While the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment provides only one narrow opening for litigation, it serves as an example of research and litigation that is ripe for creative litigants and academics to take on. You do that by teaching them financial responsibility. However, it is unreasonable to require population whose debt to society is already being paid by the sentences imposed, 80 percent of whom are indigent, to chip in to foot the bill. The media covers these stories relentlessly, but advocates see almost no impact as more and more jurisdictions implement fee practices each year. Press, May 21,
Another strong challenge to these practices lies with litigants who can challenge fees where officials have described their intent as punitive. Fiscal Fix or Mirage? Dulles, the Court struck down a law that allowed Trop, a native-born American, to be stripped of his citizenship for the crime of wartime desertion. Press, May 21, As these individuals struggle under the weight of reentering society, many see no hope and instead return to crime. In , in Alexander v. Shifting even just a portion of the burden of the cost to inmates, eighty percent of whom are indigent, 57 is not only bad fiscal policy, but also provides less incentive to policymakers to keep down costs associated with incarceration. How Charging Inmates Fees Behind Bars May Violate the Excessive Fines Clause Lauren-Brooke Eisen looks at the historical and present day practice of prisons charging inmates fees for costs related to their incarceration, including related case law. Many litigation strategies - from challenges against cruel and unusual punishment to arguments about equal protection - have proven unsuccessful. Inmates who cannot afford the fee are not charged, Sheriff Zach Scott said. The second rationale is punitive in nature and focuses on teaching inmates a lesson for their criminal acts. History of Inmate Fees A. Paul Pioneer Press Sept. Litigants have raised a litany of constitutional challenges to health care fees, 68 booking fees, 69 room-and-board fees, 70 and charges incurred while inmates were held pre-trial. One might ask why law-abiding citizens should be burdened with the cost of incarceration when they never use that service, or why taxpayers should be further victimized by supporting inmates who have the wherewithal to pay. But if it wants the benefits of incarceration, society must bear the burden, even if this choice should oblige the state to provide for the needs of people in prison in ways it routinely fails to do for needy people in the free world. With the help of additional case law raising questions about the constitutionality of these practices, even if not successful in court, their arguments can serve as thought-provoking catalysts for policymakers. Jails 2 , available at https: However, some limitations on fine amounts are found in the Magna Carta. Sanborn, The Pay-to-Stay Debate: Inmates have no control over who they live with and are exposed to many communicable diseases. The first rationale, already discussed in this article, is that the revenue stream helps to offset expensive incarceration budgets. Litigants should continue to argue that there are numerous cases where inmate fees are disproportional to their crime. Part III then reviews the limited case law in this area and suggests new litigation strategies using the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. While the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment provides only one narrow opening for litigation, it serves as an example of research and litigation that is ripe for creative litigants and academics to take on.
Video about californias sex offender work law:
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