Contact with the criminal justice system has become increasingly expensive. Many states charge fees for services, such as public defenders, that used to be free, and more crimes are being punished by fines as an alternative to jail time. Offenders who can’t afford to pay often face many obstacles, including fines for their inability to pay, and increased time on probation or in jail.
Our guests: NPR News Investigations correspondent Joseph Shapiro, who worked on a yearlong investigation on the shift of costs in the criminal justice system to defendants and offenders; Michael Reisch, professor of social justice at the University of Maryland School of Social Work; and Stephen Mercer, chief attorney of the forensics division at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Original air date: 10/31/14.