Jessica Brand

Legal Director, The Justice Collaborative


How Fines and Fees Criminalize Poverty: Explained

In Georgia, a man stole a can of beer worth $2 from a corner store. The court ordered him to wear an ankle monitor for a year. The company administering it, Sentinel Offender Services, charged him so much money that he eventually owed more than $1,000. Trying to keep up with his payments, he sold plasma, but he fell behind and the judge jailed him for non-payment.

The Criminalization of Homelessness: Explained

Most evenings, Aguirre Dick rides his bike about three miles from the streets of Waikiki in Honolulu to the slopes of a volcano, where he sleeps. If he doesn’t make that trek, he could be arrested. A 2014 law made it illegal to sit or lie down on the public sidewalks in Waikiki. As a result of this law, those without homes, like Aguirre, live in constant fear of being pushed into the criminal justice system simply because they are too poor to own or rent lodging. Liz Barney / The Guardian

Bail Reform: Explained

In September of 2017, Atlanta Police arrested 48-year-old Sean Ramsey for holding up a sign that read “homeless, please help,” an apparent violation of a law forbidding pedestrians from soliciting rides or business.