Philly’s SEPTA quietly decriminalizes jumping turnstiles, lowers fines

Tacked onto the [$300] fine Josh received were court costs that typically run around $150.

…“People generally who are jumping turnstiles are doing so because they don’t have the fare to get to their destination, period,” said Hancock.

…“That does not include the opportunity cost for that individual — who has to come to court one, two, three, maybe four times depending on how long the case goes — to take off from their job or take care of child care or elder care,” Hancock said.

…People who attempt to beat their fare and get caught today receive a $25 ticket, down from $300, and do not face criminal charges. Repeat offenders are granted four strikes before they are banned from SEPTA’s trains, buses and trolleys. Violating that ban constitutes a misdemeanor under the policy put into effect on Jan. 14, but the city district attorney’s office has agreed to consider these cases for diversion, offering social services in lieu of jail time.

…Policing small quality-of-life crimes harshly to prevent more serious crime down the road is known as broken-windows policing. Increasingly, though, criminologists have discredited the strategy for having a disparate impact on low-income people of color while failing to reduce crime rates.

…“It’s a smart approach that will hold people accountable for bad behavior while freeing up other resources in the criminal justice system for more series crimes,” said Ben Waxman, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

SEPTA quietly decriminalizes jumping turnstiles, lowers fines | News | phillytrib.com

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