Monetary sanctions are a ubiquitous part of court systems. Previous studies have focused largely on these sanctions at the state level or solely on large urban jurisdictions. However, court systems differ considerably across communities of varying population size, composition, and density. This article examines how differences in court structure and organizational dynamics in communities across the rural-urban continuum lead to differences in how court actors consider the role of monetary sanctions. Using interviews with court actors and ethnographic observations in communities across four states, we find that the practical and symbolic nature of monetary sanctions varied by the acquaintanceship density of the court and community. These interpersonal dynamics influenced courtroom considerations, monetary sanctions’ relationship to local finances, and actors’ positioning toward state-level policy. These findings emphasize the importance of court and community context and structure in assessing the law-in-action both when conducting research and designing reform.
RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences
Kirk, Gabriela; Thompson, Kristina; Huebner, Beth; Uggen, Christopher; and Shannon, Sarah, "Justice by Geography: The Role of Monetary Sanctions Across Communities" (2022). Criminology and Criminal Justice Faculty Works. 17.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/ccj-faculty/17