At the legal clinic run by A New Way of Life, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that provides shelter and services to formerly incarcerated women and their children, attorneys noticed a concerning pattern.
Community members who served jail or prison time persistently told attorneys that they “were being charged excessive amounts for the cost of probation, amounts that they couldn’t ever hope to repay,” said C.T. Turney-Lewis, the group’s supervising staff attorney. Oftentimes, they “have no income and were leaving probation with thousands and thousands of dollars in outstanding costs.”
…The criminal justice-related fees assessed by California counties are among the highest in the country, with Los Angeles topping the list, according to a study by the Western Center on Law & Poverty, an advocacy group of legal scholars.