An Evening with Peter Edelman Author, Not a Crime to Be Poor Wednesday, November 29
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and Boswell Book Company welcome author and advocate Peter Edelman to Boswell on at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, to discuss his latest book, Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America (The New Press, 2017).
Since the Justice Department’s report on Ferguson, Missouri, illuminated the modern-day debtors’ prisons that were plaguing that community’s poor, African American residents, a national dialogue has emerged about how poverty is criminalized by the practice of imposing exorbitant fines for minor crimes and then jailing those who cannot pay. In Not a Crime to be Poor, Edelman shows how these problems are not concentrated only in Ferguson, but in fact affect people’s lives across the nation.
As former staffer to Robert F. Kennedy and current Georgetown Law Professor Edelman explains, Ferguson is everywhere in America today. Ten million people in America owe $50 billion in fines and fees — penalties largely incurred by people who were targeted by “broken windows” law enforcement policy and exploited by cash-strapped governments and court systems. Edelman explores how students, victims of domestic violence, individuals experiencing homelessness, and indigent drivers bear the burden of these policies and practices.
“Low-income people are arrested for minor violations that are only annoyances for people with means but are disastrous for the poor and near poor because of the high fines and fees we now routinely impose,” Edelman writes in Not a Crime to be Poor before observing, “Many debtors will carry debts to their deaths, often hounded by bill collectors and new prosecutions.”
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute is cosponsoring Edelman’s Milwaukee appearance with Boswell Book Company, where he will discuss and sign Not a Crime to be Poor on Wednesday, November 29, at 7 p.m. Boswell is located at 2559 N. Downer Avenue, Milwaukee. The event is free and open to the public, but you can RSVP here to let us know you’re coming.
Community Advocates established the Public Policy Institute in 2008 to work toward preventing and reducing poverty while improving the quality of life for individuals and families in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. The Public Policy Institute targets poverty by changing relevant public policies and laws; preventing its effects through public health efforts; and working to increase opportunity and wellness for low-income people by fostering factors related to success, resilience, and well-being.
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