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Justice Department Calls on Courts to End 'Criminalization of Poverty'


Justice Department Calls on Courts to End 'Criminalization of Poverty'

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

The civil rights divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday released a letter calling on states to crack down on unconstitutional policies that trap low-income people in a cycle of debt and jail.


Lyndon Johnson is rolling over in his grave thinking, “this is not what I meant by war on poverty”.


Speaking of the “Justice” department, Loretta Lynch and Obama’s scotus nomination, here is a good piece on the issue. I wouldn’t trust Obama on any probable stealth nominee to the court any more than on his TPP Trojan Horse conspiring with RebubliCons!



If fully implemented the effects of this decision to “end the criminalization of poverty” would turn our criminally unjust so-called criminal justice system upside down.

Ferguson is not the only jurisdiction in the US relying on revenue from the “justice system”. In fact, I think one could safely bet reliance on revenue from the local courts is more the rule than the exception in every local jurisdiction - the cities and counties - in the US.

How does the DoJ suggest these jurisdictions make up their budgetary shortfalls?

The DoJ’s call to “end the criminalization of poverty” invokes a much bigger issue. If bankers get a slap on the wrist for committing theft on a grand scale, can our “justice system” be allowed to continue to lock up poor people for stealing the proverbial loaf of bread? or anything else?

Logically the DoJ’s decision to “end the criminalization of poverty” would put an end to the entire two-tier system of “justice” that is the rule here in America.

The criminalization of poverty in America is not just about theft from the poor to finance local governments. That is only one aspect of the travesty. It’s also about the mass incarceration of the less fortunate for “crimes” the wealthier seldom commit (like sleeping under bridges) or for which the wealthier find an easier money-greased solution.

I applaud the DoJ’s decision. We’ll see how far they intend to take it.


We’ve been criminalizing poverty for years, with the implicit support of liberals. Consider the fact that Americans no longer believe that the poor are deserving of the most basic human rights (per the UN’s UDHR) of food and shelter.Well over 1,000 Americans now die each year as a direct result of severe poverty – lack of adequate food and shelter.

It’s a very thin line between low wage workers and the desperately poor. It has virtually been “open season” on our homeless poor for years, as they’ve been beaten, even killed, by police and citizens alike. When this happens, there is no liberal outrage, no marches for justice.

Today’s liberals stand in solidarity with the better off alone. They don’t acknowledge our poverty crisis, which is pretty much like ignoring a fire-breathing dragon in your living room. We believe that only those who are of current use to employers/the corporate state deserve to survive. Bummer, in view of the reality that not everyone is able to work (health, etc.) and there aren’t jobs for all (US shipped out huge number of jobs since the 1980s).


Poverty is a Business: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/who-profits-from-poverty/


The War on Poverty has become a War On The Poor. The following article goes hand-in-hand with this article.

Poverty as Prison, Reprise


The “Dear Colleague” letter (pdf), written by the Civil Rights Division top attorney Vanita Gupta and the Office for Access to Justice director Lisa Foster, calls on courts to stop using fines and fees as a way to raise revenues and jailing those who cannot pay.

Asking “pretty please” is going to solve this problem?? We’ve decimated funding for cities while cutting taxes on the rich and we’ve sent all the jobs abroad. Logic dictates that when the squeeze is on, the most vulnerable will be mugged.


Fantastically well-done video!

Never felt the urge to be able to do graphic arts before, but that one drew me in. (Next life, maybe.) :slight_smile:


Regimes are more or less coercive about it, but you cannot really have poverty without criminalizing it. Were there no law, were there no coercion, people would just do what might be needed to have what might be needed. Errors would get made, of course, and natural disasters would happen here and there, and some suffering would attend such things. But poverty is a human creation, the flip side of ownership.


How that he is a lame duck, he is really ramping up the progressive talking points. He always has been a good talker though, but now he is putting those words in writing. Of course, the letter has not “legal authority”. It sounds nice though and it makes his flock feel good.


Yeah, welcome to the land of the free.