#Poor Not Guilty: Fines and Fees Challenge is a series of interactive scenarios that highlight how fines and fees for petty offenses create impossible situations for those experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. Each scenario asks the player to make a series of choices in response to an inciting circumstance with the goal of escaping the cycle that financial punishment systems trap them in.
To varying degrees throughout the U.S., cities and states impose heavy fines for minor offenses at every stage of the criminal justice system. Millions of Americans get trapped in a cycle of punishment simply because they can’t afford to pay these fines and fees. Without any means of escape from a system designed to punish poverty, many Americans lose their jobs, homes, and even their children.
Almost every state has laws that punish and fine people experiencing homelessness for engaging in necessary activities, such as sleeping or sitting in public. These types of policies criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes, like the lack of access to affordable and adequate housing.
Spread the Word
You can help advocate for decriminalizing excessive fines and fees in the U.S. by –
- Visiting the Poor Not Guilty website and join the conversation on Twitter
- Joining the Free to Drive coalition
- Endorsing the Housing Not Handcuffs campaign
- Producer, Design and Development Lead: Lien Tran
- Narrative Designer: Jess Reed
- Illustrator: Haoran Zhang
- Subject Matter Experts
Special thanks to DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media for supporting this project.