driver's license

Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

When people who commit minor crimes can't pay their fines, they often end up in jail. It's just one aspect of systemic inequality in the criminal justice system. Peter Edelman explores this racially biased system in his new book Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America.

He argues that the phrases 'school-to-prison pipeline' and 'cradle-to-prison pipeline' are too narrow. The United States has developed a criminal justice system that ensures a cradle to coffin pipeline. What's being done to change a system that traps entire communities in inescapable cycles of poverty? We'll speak with Edelman and Brendon Woods, the first African American public defender in Alameda County.

 

"CA DMV 00734" by Flickr user Omar Bárcena. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / Cropped and resized

 

It’s been just over a year since undocumented immigrants in California have been able to get driver’s licenses through the AB 60 law.

"Fullerton DMV" by Flickr user Micah Sittig. Used under CC BY 2.0 / cropped and resized.

 

AB 60 — a year-old law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses — hasn’t worked the same for everyone. For some people, like Ghanaian national Eko Croffie, a small complication can mean a long journey ahead.

 

Angela Johnston

 


Rosa Santos is leaning over a pile of forms and documents in the corner of the San Jose’s new DMV. I meet her along with her friend. They’re both applying for their licenses for the first time through AB 60.

Santos came prepared today. She studied for hours, pouring over YouTube tutorials and sample driver's tests. As she waits in line, she riffles through the documents she needs -  a Mexican ID, a piece of mail to confirm her address, and $33 for the processing fee.

From our partners at Youth Radio.