Fact: Researchers from Villanova estimate that the poverty rate would be 20% lower today if not for the mass incarceration policies of the last few decades.
Fact: Absent the mass incarceration policies, an estimated five million fewer people would have fallen below the poverty line.
Source: Prison and the Poverty Trap, New York Times
Fact: In Wisconsin, more than 11,000 poor people go to court without representation annually. Anyone who makes more than $3,000 per year is considered able to afford a lawyer.
Fact: In Lake Charles, Louisiana, the public defender’s office has two investigators for the 2,500+ felony cases assigned to the office annually.
Source: The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Fact: In St. Louis County, public defenders routinely handle more than 200 felony cases per year, including murder and rape cases. Because of the overload, about 4,000 juveniles are sentenced without representation annually.
Fact: At times, St. Louis County public defenders represent clients in 10 different cases simultaneously.
Source: The New York Times, Public Defenders, Bolstered by a Work Analysis and Rulings, Push Back Against a Tide of Cases
Fact: 80-90% of people accused of crimes in the US are poor.
Source: NYTimes, The Right to Counsel: Badly Battered at 50