Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Alexes Harris Discusses Her Research on Legal Financial Obligations

Posted: 12/5/2017 (CSDE in the News)

Alexes Harris, affiliate and Professor of Sociology, was quoted in an Atlanta Black Star article that addresses legal financial obligations (LFOs) that offenders must pay once they have served prison time, and the repercussions of failing to meet these obligations. One such repercussion is losing the right to vote, an outcome that disproportionately affects African-American offenders. In the article, Harris discusses various issues relating to LFOs, including how many obliged to pay them are not aware how failure to do so will affect their right to vote. For instance, Harris observed that in some cases, those who maintained voting rights because they kept up with their LFO obligations—which is the case in Washington—were not aware that they could vote. Furthermore, in the course of her research, Harris found that the LFO system is built on a history of racism. “Monetary sanctions were…integral to systems of criminal justice, debt bondage, and racial domination in the American South for decades,” she said. The full article is available below.

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