Some people in Texas who commit relatively minor violations, such as driving on a suspended license, can find themselves caught in a legal system where they're further penalized for being unable to pay fines. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that it's illegal to put people in jail who are too poor to pay fines, many debt-ridden offenders feel like they are in a kind of prison.
Almost half of adults in Texas and across the United States have an immediate family member who has been incarcerated. The new study, which is believed to be the most accurate of its kind, was done by researchers at Cornell University. The findings were double what researchers had believed prior to the study. Researchers used a nationally represented study to gather the statistics. More than 4,000 people were included in the study.
When audio recordings of black suspects are transcribed into text, mistakes are often made about the meaning of language. In cases in Texas and many other states, transcribers have written down statements that don't actually coincide with the language of the original recording. This is particularly common with white transcribers who are responsible for converting speech from black suspects to text. These mistakes can result in criminal convictions and extensive prison sentences for innocent people.