The Law: $1 or Two Months

As an eye-opening example of a state where justice is often colored by the condition of a defendant's pocketbook, Justice Goldberg might well have mentioned Georgia, where one out of every 434 citizens is behind bars—as against a national ratio of one out of every 1,000. Of the more than 5,000 Georgians imprisoned in state institutions each year for misdemeanors, 40% are locked up simply because they are unable to pay small fines. Examples: — A 17-year-old girl got one year for having two jars of moonshine in her house; the alternative fine was $100. — A woman got two consecutive...

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