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Paying the Price of Prison

Parking fines and high bail demands are landing Americans in prison. But someone is profiting

For most people, a traffic violation simply means a fine. But for poorer people in the US, it could mean being imprisoned. Since the global financial crisis, local and state governments have tried to make up for shortfalls in tax revenue by issuing more, and larger, fines. If you can't afford to pay, you may well end up behind bars, as the BBC's Kim Gittleson reports from South Carolina.

Presenter Ed Butler talks to Robin Steinberg, CEO of the non-profit Bail Project in Los Angeles, which is aimed at helping accused people stay out of jail while they're awaiting trial. And we hear from Lisa Greybill, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, and North Louisiana defence attorney Eric Johnson, on the pros and cons of working prisoners.

(Picture: Inmates from the Brevard County Jail work to fill sandbags for residents as people in the area prepare ahead of Hurricane Irma on September 07, 2017 in Meritt Island, Florida. Credit:Getty Images)

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18 minutes

Last on

Wed 2 May 2018 07:32GMT


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