Karin D. Martin was a featured speaker in the Price Center’s Social Innovation Speaker Series. Dr. Martin is an Assistant Professor at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington, where she is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sociology. She is a crime policy specialist whose areas of expertise are monetary sanctions, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and decision-making in the criminal legal context. She is a recipient of the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award and is a 2021-2022 American Bar Foundation (ABF)/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Faculty Scholar. She is Affiliated Faculty with the West Coast Poverty Center and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington.
What are the logics of monetary sanction (MS) use in the US and how do they influence an individual’s experience of punishment for a criminal conviction? To address these questions, we draw on a systematic analysis of statutes, interview data with debtors (n=510) and court professionals (n=435), as well as 1600 hours of ethnographic observation across eight states. We combine these data with publicly available administrative data to identify various logics in monetary sanction use. We find that two ideal types exemplify the logics of monetary sanctions. In “Machine Logic,” the emphasis is on maximizing the extraction of money from those involved in the criminal legal system. In “Journey Logic,” the focus is on holding defendants accountable as they navigate toward an outcome ostensibly desirable to both the individual and the court. We derive these logics from an assessment of the penal context and manifestation of discretion in each state. We then examine how the logics relate to the legal and experiential consequences for people assessed MS, finding that each ideal type can entail an expansive reach of the criminal legal system into people’s lives.
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