Tony Messenger, a reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, talks about the issue of fines and fees and is the author of the recent book, Profit and Punishment How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice.
In his book, he goes into rural Missouri to follow the lives of poor white people who are victimized by a system of fines and fees that ends up entrapping them into a cycle of poverty and debt from which many cannot escape.
The issue ironically caught the attention of Messenger and others following reports on Ferguson which showed how that city financed itself on the backs of poor, mostly Black people, who commit minor traffic infractions and then get caught into a system of fines and fees which creates debt.
In Missouri though, with its legislature heavily Republican, they have moved away from taxes as a means to finance local government and toward a punitive fines and fees system.
Listen as Tony Messenger talks about some of the more egregious stories he tracked in his book demonstrating the problematic nature of fines and fees.
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