A few months ago, I had occasion to interview a man who, at age 18, stole a cheap video game system from a department store. More than a decade after his arrest, the fines, fees and collections costs stemming from his arrest totaled more than $6,000 combined — and he continued to repeatedly find himself locked up on failure to pay charges for falling behind on his payments.
He lost his driver’s license, and each time he was arrested, he risked losing his job. Once, he was fired.
I thought of him when I read news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week rescinded Obama Administration guidance warning local officials against issuing steep fines to indigent defendants for traffic cases and minor crimes.
You can read Sessions’ memo here.