David Benoit is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and friend of the progressive criminal justice movement. David reached out to me to discuss if members of our community experience issues with banks, including closure of accounts without explanation. He would like to hear about your experiences. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! – Jeff
Court debts and lack of credit limit abilities to get driver’s licenses, find homes and get meaningful work
In 2013, Martize Tolbert walked out of prison and into a financial hole.
Mr. Tolbert was arrested on drug and weapon charges as a teenager, then bounced in and out of jail for more than a dozen years. When he was released for the last time, he owed some $12,000 in court fines and fees.
Four years later, he was working at a Charlottesville, Va., Jiffy Lube, making $9 an hour, barely enough for rent, food and supporting his son. The debt barred him from getting a driver’s license, but, with or without one, he had to drive. A Black man, he got pulled over often, he said, leading to more tickets, bigger for the lack of a license. The interest was compounding too. He tried to work out payment plans, but the total was only growing.