David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy

Money and Incarceration: A Panel Discussion

This panel will zero in on the nexus between money and incarceration.

The UCLA Prison Law & Policy Program presents:
Money and Incarceration: A Panel Discussion

Featuring:
Professor Beth Colgan, UCLA School of Law
John Dacey, Founder and Executive Director of Abolish Private Prisons

When people are convicted of crimes, they can be treated in ways that we would ordinarily think of as wrong. The state can take their money (fines), lock them away for months and even years (prison) and even kill them (capital punishment).  The reasons why the state gets to do these things to people may be contested, but one thing seems clear: no one should suffer criminal punishment just so someone else can make a profit.  That some people might get rich if other people are imprisoned is never a valid reason to incarcerate, and the same goes for all other criminal penalties. 

And yet, as it currently operates, the American criminal justice system is a major money maker, both for private actors and political entities.  Police departments are funded by assets seized from the people they arrest. Municipal courthouses run on fees charged to people found guilty of crimes (and even those who aren’t). Private companies sell products made by incarcerated people paid pennies on the dollar. Private prison providers operate prisons for profit.  And so on.

This panel will zero in on the nexus between money and incarceration. Beth Colgan is a national expert on the fines and fees charged to people caught up in the system, people who may wind up jailed if they can’t pay.  John Dacey is dedicated to challenging the state’s use of private, for-profit prisons, an approach that enables private companies to earn a profit if they run the prisons for less than the contract price. 

Lunch will be served.
RSVP by the end of Thursday, February 8.