TULSA, Okla. – Fines, dues and court expenses assessed to Oklahoma defendants have spiked since fiscal year 2007 and some criminal justice reform advocates say state and local government agencies are increasingly relying on them as an income source.
Tulsa World reports that citations, fees and costs have risen 27% since 2007. State lawmakers have also imposed two administrative charges that collectively require defendants to pay an additional 25% of all fees amassed by the courts for the executive branch.
Court collections have contributed to around 66% to 90% of yearly district court subsidies over that same period.
Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform director Kris Steele says an impoverished person’s inability to pay either puts them in jail or they return to crime in order to satisfy the debts.