Nearly every state uses speeding-ticket fines and fees to fund its justice system

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In 2015, the Department of Justice released a report A year earlier, on the reasons for the shooting murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Ferguson “was a community where local officials constantly contacted law enforcement not as a means of protecting public safety, but as a way to generate revenue,” wrote then-Attorney General Eric Holder.

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The report also found that revenue growth was racially biased and that it “not only seriously undermined public trust, eroded police legitimacy, and made local residents less safe – but created an intensely charged environment.” Where people feel under attack and siege on them. Serve them and protect them.”

But years later, the practice remains widespread—so much so that in at least 43 states, some portion of speeding ticket revenue goes to a court or law enforcement fund, which, according to a new paper, serves interests like Ferguson’s. Suggests the possibility of a collision. ,

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New paper from the Tax Policy Center in Washington, After money on fines and fees, it observes what the authors incorrectly call “financial incentives in speeding tickets”. According to co-author Arvind Boddupalli, the paper’s contribution to the issue is novel in the sense of how it allocates revenue from fines and fees, attracting a money trail of potential conflicts of interest.

Source: Tax Policy Center Analyzing Census Bureau Data

The paper also found that many states use speeding ticket revenue to fund general government services unrelated to the justice system. That’s a gray area, Boddupalli told Businesshala.

“It is not conclusively better to send money to a general fund,” Boddupalli said. “Revenue-driven policing and punishment can, in itself, be quite problematic and particularly disparate. There is a lot that could be problematic here.”

Prior Coverage: When fines and fees ruin lives

To end “revenue-driven policing” the way it was done in Ferguson still doesn’t have to have a devastating effect on people’s lives. This practice disproportionately targets black Americans, A raft of earlier research has shown, and it can trap people in a cycle of debt, bankruptcy, and the history of the justice system, which can make it very difficult to find a job or start afresh.

What’s more, by creating such incentives for law enforcement, it could set up a situation where the financial health of the community is better if people are fined more for breaking the law. But this often undermines public confidence in the justice system and leads to a loss of legitimacy – not to mention low rates of solving crimes, Boddupalli said.

He hopes that his paper, co-authored with Livia Mucciolo, leads to more research focused on tracking allocations from other types of revenue.

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