The Justice Department sent a letter Monday to state and municipal courts instructing them to avoid incarcerating poor people for unpaid fines over minor offenses, a practice that some municipalities have used as a source of revenue, CNN reports.
Vanita Gupta, the department’s chief civil rights prosecutor, issued the guidelines that are “intended to address some of the most common practices that run afoul of the United States Constitution and/or other federal laws,” according to the network.
This move stems from an investigation of law enforcement and the municipal court in Ferguson, Missouri, which revealed racial bias. According to the DOJ’s report, Ferguson officials routinely targeted poor African-Americans, disproportionately issuing them fines for minor infractions to generate revenue.
When many of these poor people can’t pay the fines, they end up incarcerated, unemployed, homeless, or some combination.
When it comes to minor offenses, the Justice Department said the courts shouldn’t jail indigent defendants for nonpayment—knowing they can’t afford to pay. It also discouraged the courts from suspending their licenses to compel payments. That only sets off the harmful cycle that begins with an arrest.
The department announced the availability of grants to encourage state and local courts to find alternatives to fines and incarcerations.
1. Remy Ma1 of 36
2. Bobby ShmurdaSource:Bobby Shmurda Instagram 2 of 36
3. Apollo Nida was just sentenced to 8 years in prison for fraud.3 of 36
4. Darren Sharper is currently on trial for rape in several states.4 of 36
5. Justin Bieber has had some trouble with the law in the past for marijuana possession, drag racing and a number of other crimes.5 of 36
6. Ja Rule spent two years in prison for gun possession and tax evasion.6 of 36
7. Joseline Hernandez has spent some time in jail for prostitution prior to her Love & Hip Hop fame.7 of 36
8. Nene Leakes was charged with shoplifting in her early 20's.8 of 36
9. Chris Brown is currently in jail for violating his probation.9 of 36
10. Lindsay Lohan10 of 36
11. Wesley Snipes was convicted and spent some time in the big house.11 of 36
12. Ron Isley spent time in jail for tax evasion.12 of 36
13. Foxy Brown's numerous probation violations landed her in the slammer for a year (76 days in solitary confinement).(AP)13 of 36
14. A drunk Shia Labeouf was arrested for trespassing at a Walgreens. The store was closing and he refused to leave. (AP)14 of 36
15. OJ Simpson15 of 36
16. 50 Cent was arrested on drug charges and spent 6 months in an incarceration boot camp and earned his GED while there. AP16 of 36
17. Lil' Wayne served a year at Rikers for illegal gun possession & performed suicide watch with at-risk inmates. (AP)17 of 36
18. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for peeing on the Alamo in San Antonio. He bragged about it & got a 20 yr. ban from the city. AP18 of 36
19. T.I. spent 11 months (the last time) in jail for probation violation. He is on the straight and narrow again. (AP)19 of 36
20. Martha Stewart was found guilty of insider trading and spent 5 months in federal prison & 2 years of supervised release. AP20 of 36
21. Gucci Mane has been in jail several times; drug possession, assault and probation violations. (AP)21 of 36
22. James Brown was sentenced to 6 years in 1988 for not stopping his car in a police chase.22 of 36
23. Nicole Richie only spent 82 minutes of her four-day sentence in jail for a DUI due to overcrowding in the system. (AP)23 of 36
24. Boy George got 15 months for chaining a male escort to a wall (without his consent) in his flat during a photo session.24 of 36
25. Lil’ Kim was at the very peak of her career when she was charged with conspiracy and perjury charges. She got 1 year & 1 day.25 of 36
26. Michelle Rodriguez has been in & out of jail four times: DUI, hit & run, probation violations, driving without a license.26 of 36
27. Meek Mill was sentenced to 2-4 years for violating his probation and driving dirt bikes in NYC.27 of 36
28. Kiefer Sutherland was charged with misdemeanor drunk driving in Los Angeles and spent 48 days in jail. (AP)28 of 36
29. Robert Downey Jr. spent 4 months in a LA jail and a year in prison for drugs and probation violations. He is doing well now.29 of 36
30. A hairdresser cashed an unauthorized check and Mystikal gave her a choice; jail or sex (not legal) and he got six years. (AP)30 of 36
31. Christian Slater was sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting his girlfriend & the man who tried to help her.31 of 36
32. Actor & comedian Tim Allen spent over two years in prison for cocaine possession (before he found fame). (AP)32 of 36
33. A drunk Edward Furlong was arrested for “freeing” a tank of lobsters in a Kentucky grocery store. (AP)33 of 36
34. Michael Vick spent 21 months in jail for financing a dog fighting business. He is out and doing well. Go Mike! (AP)34 of 36
35. Suge Knight was indicted by a grand jury for threatening death to director F. Gary Gary in August of 2017.(AP)35 of 36
36. Lauryn Hill served 3 months in prison for not paying federal taxes of $1.8 million from 2005 to 2007. (AP)36 of 36
SOURCE: CNN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform