© 2021 MICHIGAN RADIO
91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Criminal Justice & Legal System
On this page you'll find all of our stories on the city of Detroit.Suggest a story here and follow our podcast here.

Is jail time for ticket scofflaws best use of taxpayer dollars?

gavel_brianturner_flickr.jpg
Brian Turner
/
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Last year, the Michigan Supreme Court announced rule changes designed to keep people out of jail just because they cannot pay court fines. But a Bridge Magazine investigation finds that's exactly what's happening in 36th District Court in Detroit.

It's called "pay or stay:" jailing people who can't afford to pay a fine.

It's a controversial issue nationwide. Critics say pay or stay sentencing has created a 21st-century version of debtors' prisons.

In May of 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court announced rule changes designed to keep people out of jail just because they cannot pay court fines. But a Bridge Magazine investigation finds that's exactly what's happening in the weekly collections docket at the 36th District Court in Detroit.
Journalist Sarah Alvarez wrote the article and joined Stateside to talk about what she found about the inner workings of the 36th District Court.

Listen to the full interview above to hear how Detroit's bankruptcy contributed to this problem and how much of a burden it is on taxpayers to keep people in jail for not paying fines.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

Related Content