Transferred Debt: Balancing Crime, Punishment, and Budgets through Legal Financial Obligations

Awarded Scholars:
Angela LaScala-Gruenewald, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Project Date:
May 2023
Award Amount:

Legal financial obligations (LFOs) or, more informally, “fines and fees” are the most common criminal sanction in the United States, with millions of people owing billions of dollars to their local governments. While studies have uncovered the vast scale and consequences of LFOs, limited research analyzes their political development and how this relates to their enforcement. Doctoral student in sociology Angela LaScala-Gruenewald will investigate the political origins of LFOs in two New York suburbs and how their origins influence their enforcement. They will analyze state and municipal archival data and will conduct participant observation and interviews for their study.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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