Not a Crime to Be Poor

Peter Edelman
In a discussion of his book Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, Georgetown University’s Peter Edelman details the need to reform a legal system that punishes the impoverished through impossibly high fees and fines for minor crimes – a la Ferguson, Missouri – and other onerous practices.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Reception: 
6 pm
Program: 
6:30 pm
Debtors’ prisons are supposed to be a thing of the past. But a federal investigation of police practices in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of violent unrest there found a troubling system of modern debt servitude – heavy fines and fees levied for minor crimes, landing thousands in jail when they couldn’t pay.

It’s not only Ferguson. In a discussion of his book Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, Georgetown University’s Peter Edelman details the need to reform a system that punishes poverty nationwide through cash-bail requirements, fees and fines, the strict enforcement of trespassing laws and other regulations largely affecting the homeless, and additional onerous practices.

Edelman teaches constitutional law and poverty law, and is faculty director of Georgetown’s Center on Poverty and Inequality.