Columnist Tony Messenger talks criminal justice

Join us at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9 online as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Messenger discusses his new book, Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice.

As a metro columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mr. Messenger has spent years in county and municipal courthouses documenting how poor Americans are convicted of minor crimes and then saddled with exorbitant fines and fees. If they are unable to pay, they are often sent to prison, where they are then charged a pay-to-stay bill, in a cycle that soon creates a mountain of debt that can take years to pay off. These insidious penalties are used to raise money for broken local and state budgets, often overseen by for-profit companies, and it is one of the central issues of the criminal justice reform movement. Mr. Messenger won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for his series of columns on this topic.

The program is free and open to all, and will be held virtually via Zoom. To participate, please email reference@ucitylibrary.org to register for the Zoom link. The Library will also broadcast the program on the Library’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Signed copies of Profit and Punishment will be available for purchase at Subterranean Books after the event.