The number of arrests for NYC subway fare evasion has increased 69% between 2008 and 2013, and is still growing, according to the Daily News. An arm of the NYPD’s questionable “broken windows” strategy for preventing higher level crimes by targeting minor offenses, fare beating has become one of the leading causes of arrest that leads to jail time. From 2008 to June of 2014, 37,500 people have been incarcerated for the crime, and 1,802 of them were minors. Justine Olderman of Bronx Defenders, who takes on many of the fare evasion cases, highlights the inequality of these charges:
“Our clients charged with theft of services are all predominately young, all predominately people of color, from under-resourced communities. The reason (for turnstile jumping) is always the same, poverty,” said Olderman. “Our clients are simply people who are trying to get home, to school, to work, to see their loved ones but don’t have the ability to pay.”
Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU added:
“Every time you get arrested, you build up a record. And so if police train their sights disproportionately on black people, then black people are also going to be more likely to have a record for these minor offenses. And when you walk into court with a record, you’re less likely to be given the benefit of the doubt or a second chance,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
“It’s important to think about the consequences of the decision to arrest somebody rather than give them a summons for something as minor as jumping a turnstile.”
(Photo: Bitch Cakes)