UW News

Alexes Harris


June 6, 2018

Washington state Supreme Court takes up court-fee reform, considers UW data at sold-out Wednesday symposium

Monetary sanctions disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. A Washington State Supreme Court symposium will discuss the issue of legal financial obligations, with new data from the University of Washington.

  African-Americans in Washington state are 2.3 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to fines and fees, and carry about three times the debt in unpaid monetary sanctions. In all, said University of Washington sociology professor Alexes Harris, legal financial obligations represented nearly $2.5 billion in debt in Washington in 2014, the most…


May 15, 2018

Born of protest: Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity celebrates a half-century

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It was spring 1968. A group of students occupied the University of Washington administration building calling for change: justice, diversity, agency for Blacks on campus.


April 20, 2017

Research team tracks complex web of monetary sanctions in 9 states

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UW sociologist Alexes Harris leads a team of researchers at nine universities who are exploring the role of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system. They recently completed a review of financial punishments in the laws of each of their home states. Based on their preliminary findings, the impact to a person’s pocketbook depends largely on his or her location on a map.


February 1, 2016

UW hosts daylong public ‘teach-in’ on mass incarceration

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The acclaimed 2012 book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” is the foundation for a daylong “teach-in” at the University of Washington Feb. 9. The event is titled “Perpetual Displacement and Bondage: Understanding Historical and Contemporary Intersections of Mass Incarceration, Racism, and Health.” It’s free and open to the public,…


December 4, 2015

UW project focuses on fines and fees that create ‘prisoners of debt’

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Criminals are meant to pay their debts to society through sentencing, but a different type of court-imposed debt can tie them to the criminal justice system for life and impact their ability to move forward with their lives. Though debtors’ prisons were eliminated in the United States almost two centuries ago, a modern-day version exists…