Across states there is variation in two dimensions of economic sanctions aimed at compelling individuals with justice system involvement to pay for criminal justice expenses. The first dimension – imposition – relates to the number of statutorily authorized costs. The second dimension – payment enforcement – relates to whether or not a private collection agency can collect economic sanctions; privatization means that offenders have higher financial obligations because of the surcharges and penalties that make these businesses financially successful. Together, these two dimensions of imposition and enforcement can be used to characterize states in terms of the degree to which convicted individuals are compelled to make payments toward costs and fees. Our analysis suggests that the South is more coercive than other regions of the country on these two dimensions and that, within the South, this continuum of coercive costs is worse in states with a history of convict leasing.

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