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Assessing the Ad Hoc Nature of Financial Obligations Arising in the Illinois Criminal Justice System

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Publication Date: January 2010

Publisher(s): Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Justice (Legal procedure)

Keywords: poverty; criminal justice; restitution

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


Involvement in the criminal justice system today often results in not only punishment for a particular offense but also the imposition of an array of financial fines, fees, and penalties that increasingly bear little rational relationship to the offense itself. These financial obligations do, however, directly affect how former offenders leaving the corrections system can successfully reintegrate into society since the financial burdens weigh most heavily on low-income defendants. As cash-strapped legislatures may be tempted to increase revenues by increasing these financial obligations, advocates should know how to oppose those fiscal policies that punish offenders long after they have served their time.