The Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and a number of other community and civil rights organizations that work with incarcerated people have released a report finding that the costs associated with incarceration, such as traveling for prison visits, have pushed more than one-third of the families of the incarcerated person into debt.
Timothy Williams authored a recent article in The New York Times summarizing the findings of the report.
In all, researchers interviewed more than 1,000 former inmates and family members in 14 states and found that court fees and fines, phone and visitation expenses, and commissary costs frequently sink families deep into poverty.
Even public defenders are not always free. Most states permit courts to charge defendants who use public defenders — with costs sometimes rising to thousands of dollars, the report said. Other states charge defendants extra fees for jury trials.
The full report is available by using this link – who-pays