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NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2018
Monday 2:00-3:00pm, Gates 219

Person in charge: Robin Jia

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 22Allen Nie Tao Lei, Regina Barzilay, and Tommi Jaakkola. Rationalizing Neural Predictions. EMNLP 2016. [pdf]
Jan 29Peng QiRecent work that uses syntactic parses for neural machine translation:
  • Akiko Eriguchi, Yoshimasa Tsuruoka, and Kyunghyun Cho. Learning to Parse and Translate Improves Neural Machine Translation. ACL 2017. [pdf]
  • Shuangzhi Wu, Dongdong Zhang, Nan Yang, Mu Li, and Ming Zhou. Sequence-to-Dependency Neural Machine Translation. ACL 2017. [pdf]
  • Huadong Chen, Shujian Huang, David Chiang, Jiajun Chen. Improved Neural Machine Translation with a Syntax-Aware Encoder and Decoder. ACL 2017. [pdf]
Feb 5Will Monroe Jacob Andreas, Dan Klein, and Sergey Levine. Learning with Latent Language. arXiv, 2017. [pdf]
Feb 12Braden Hancock Shashank Srivastava, Igor Labutov, and Tom Mitchell. Joint Concept Learning and Semantic Parsing from Natural Language Explanations. EMNLP, 2017. [pdf]
Feb 19President's Day/ACL break
Feb 26Yoav ArtziGuest talk
Mar 5Ice Pasupat Sanjeev Arora, Yingyu Liang, and Tengyu Ma. A Simple but Tough-to-beat Baseline for Sentence Embeddings. ICLR, 2017. [pdf]
Mar 12Dan Iter Alec Radford, Rafal Jozefowicz, and Ilya Sutskever. Learning to Generate Reviews and Discovering Sentiment. [pdf]
Mar 19Yuhao Zhang Amar Parkash and Devi Parikh. Attributes for Classifier Feedback. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2017
Monday 2:00-3:00pm, Gates 219

Person in charge: Robin Jia

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 23Ashwin Paranjape Xi Chen, Yan Duan, Rein Houthooft, John Schulman, Ilya Sutskever, and Pieter Abbeel. InfoGAN: Interpretable Representation Learning by Information Maximizing Generative Adversarial Nets. NIPS 2016. [pdf]
Oct 30Peng QiOverview of the Turing Test, including: Alan Turing. Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind, 1950. [pdf]
Nov 6Siva Reddy Brenden M. Lake, Marco Baroni. Still not systematic after all these years: On the compositional skills of sequence-to-sequence recurrent networks. arXiv, 2017. [pdf]
Nov 13Ice Pasupat Tim Paek. Towards evaluation that leads to best practice: reconciling dialog evaluation in research and industry. NAACL, 2007. [pdf]
Nov 20Thanksgiving Week
Nov 27Urvashi Khandelwal Gábor Melis, Chris Dyer, and Phil Blunsom. On the State of the Art of Evaluation in Neural Language Models. arXiv, 2017. [pdf]
Dec 4Will MonroeZachary Lipton. The Mythos of Model Interpretability. ICML 2016 Workshop on Human Interpretability in Machine Learning (WHI 2016). [pdf]
Dec 11Ziang Xie Huan Ling, Sanja Fidler. Teaching Machines to Describe Images via Natural Language Feedback. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Summer 2017
Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm, Gates 463A/219

Person in charge: Urvashi Khandelwal

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jun 28Siva ReddyAdhiguna Kuncoro, Miguel Ballesteros, Lingpeng Kong, Chris Dyer, Graham Neubig, Noah A. Smith. What Do Recurrent Neural Network Grammars Learn About Syntax? EACL 2017. [pdf]
Jul 12Abi SeeAshish Vaswani, Noam Shazeer, Niki Parmar, Jakob Uszkoreit, Llion Jones, Aidan N. Gomez, Lukasz Kaiser, Illia Polosukhin. Attention is all you need. [pdf]
Jul 19Panupong (Ice) Pasupat Lukasz Kaiser, Aidan N. Gomez, Noam Shazeer, Ashish Vaswani, Niki Parmar, Llion Jones, Jakob Uszkoreit. One Model To Learn Them All. [pdf]
Jul 26Robin JiaMandar Joshi, Eunsol Choi, Daniel S. Weld, Luke Zettlemoyer. TriviaQA: A Large Scale Distantly Supervised Challenge Dataset for Reading Comprehension. [pdf]
Aug 2ACL.
Aug 9Ashwin ParanjapeAlex Gittens, Dimitris Achlioptas, Michael W. Mahoney. Skip-Gram – Zipf + Uniform = Vector Additivity. ACL 2017. [pdf]
Aug 16Fereshte KhaniIgor Mordatch, Pieter Abbeel. Emergence of Grounded Compositional Language in Multi-Agent Populations. [pdf]
Aug 23Sebastian SchusterJacob Andreas, Anca Dragan, Dan Klein. Translating Neuralese. ACL 2017. [pdf]
Sep 6Mihail EricJason D. Williams, Kavosh Asadi, Geoffrey Zweig. Hybrid Code Networks: practical and efficient end-to-end dialog control with supervised and reinforcement learning ACL 2017. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2017
Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm, Gates 219

Person in charge: Peng Qi

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 5Sanjeev AroraGuest talk on generative adversarial networks.
Apr 12EMNLP deadline (4/14).
Apr 19Peng QiTal Linzen, Emmanuel Dupoux, Yoav Goldberg. Assessing the Ability of LSTMs to Learn Syntax-Sensitive Dependencies. TACL 2017. [pdf]
Apr 26Fereshte KhaniAngeliki Lazaridou, Alexander Peysakhovich, Marco Baroni. Multi-Agent Cooperation and the Emergence of (Natural) Language. ICLR 2017. [pdf]
May 3Urvashi KhandelwalBhuwan Dhingra, Zhilin Yang, William W. Cohen, Ruslan Salakhutdinov. Linguistic Knowledge as Memory for Recurrent Neural Networks. arXiv. [pdf]
May 10Robin JiaBen Athiwaratkun, Andrew Gordon Wilson. Multimodal Word Distributions. ACL 2017. [pdf]
May 17Arun ChagantyZhiting Hu, Zichao Yang, Xiaodan Liang, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Eric P. Xing. Controllable Text Generation. arXiv. [pdf]
May 24Panupong (Ice) PasupatHaonan Yu, Haichao Zhang, Wei Xu. A Deep Compositional Framework for Human-like Language Acquisition in Virtual Environment. arXiv. [pdf]
May 31Kelvin GuuMohammad Norouzi, Samy Bengio, Zhifeng Chen, Navdeep Jaitly, Mike Schuster, Yonghui Wu, Dale Schuurmans. Reward Augmented Maximum Likelihood for Neural Structured Prediction. NIPS 2016. [pdf]
Jun 7Dor AradAlexander Miller, Adam Fisch, Jesse Dodge, Amir-Hossein Karimi, Antoine Bordes, Jason Weston. Key-Value Memory Networks for Directly Reading Documents. EMNLP 2016. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2017
Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm, Gates 219

Person in charge: Urvashi Khandelwal

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 18Will MonroeYoon Kim and Alexander M. Rush. Sequence-Level Knowledge Distillation. EMNLP 2016. [pdf]
Jan 25Fereshte KhaniE. Dario Gutierrez, Roger Levy and Benjamin K. Bergen. Finding Non-Arbitrary Form-Meaning Systematicity Using String-Metric Learning for Kernel Regression. ACL 2016. [pdf]
Feb 1 ACL Deadline (2/6).
Feb 8He HeKazuma Hashimoto, Caiming Xiong, Yoshimasa Tsuruoka, Richard Socher. A Joint Many-Task Model: Growing a Neural Network for Multiple NLP Tasks. Under review at ICLR 2017. [pdf]
Feb 15Jon GauthierEric Jang, Shane Gu, Ben Poole. Categorical Reparameterization with Gumbel-Softmax. ICLR 2017. [pdf]
Feb 22Kevin ClarkKarthik Narasimhan, Adam Yala, Regina Barzilay. Improving Information Extraction by Acquiring External Evidence with Reinforcement Learning. EMNLP 2016. [pdf]
Mar 1Yuhao ZhangMinjoon Seo, Aniruddha Kembhavi, Ali Farhadi, Hannaneh Hajishirzi. Bidirectional Attention Flow for Machine Comprehension. arXiv:1611.01603. [pdf]
Victor ZhongCaiming Xiong, Victor Zhong, Richard Socher. Dynamic Coattention Networks For Question Answering. Under review at ICLR 2017. [pdf]
Mar 8Danqi ChenYoon Kim, Carl Denton, Luong Hoang, Alexander M. Rush. Structured Attention Networks. Under review at ICLR 2017. [pdf]
Mar 15Robin JiaKenton Lee, Mike Lewis, Luke Zettlemoyer. Global Neural CCG Parsing with Optimality Guarantees. EMNLP 2016. [pdf]
Mar 22Abi SeeChiyuan Zhang, Samy Bengio, Moritz Hardt, Benjamin Recht, Oriol Vinyals. Understanding Deep Learning Requires Rethinking Generalization. Under review at ICLR 2017. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2016
Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm, Gates 219/415

Person in charge: Urvashi Khandelwal

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 5thAbi SeeJoseph Weizenbaum. ELIZA - A Computer Program for the Study of Natural Language Communication Between Man and Machine. Computational Linguistics 1966. [pdf]
Oct 12thKai Sheng TaiDaniel G. Bobrow, Ronald M. Kaplan, Martin Kay, Donald A. Norman, Henry Thompson and Terry Winograd. GUS, A Frame-Driven Dialog System. Artificial Intelligence 1977. [pdf]
Oct 19thPanupong PasupatBhuwan Dhingra, Lihong Li, Xiujun Li, Jianfeng Gao, Yun-Nung Chen, Faisal Ahmed, Li Deng. End-to-End Reinforcement Learning of Dialogue Agents for Information Access. arXiv:1609.00777. [pdf]
Oct 26thJon GauthierSainbayar Sukhbaatar, Arthur Szlam, Rob Fergus. Learning Multiagent Communication with Backpropagation. arXiv:1605.07736. [pdf]
Nov 2ndFereshte KhaniSteve Young, Milica Gasic, Blaise Thomson and Jason D. Williams. POMDP-based Statistical Spoken Dialogue Systems: a Review. IEEE2013. [pdf]
Nov 9thRobin JiaBarbara J. Grosz and Candace L. Sidner. Attention, Intentions, and the Structure of Discourse. Computational Linguistics 1986. [pdf]
Nov 16thHe HeIulian Vlad Serban, Alessandro Sordoni, Ryan Lowe, Laurent Charlin, Joelle Pineau, Aaron Courville, Yoshua Bengio. A Hierarchical Latent Variable Encoder-Decoder Model for Generating Dialogues. arXiv:1605.06069. [pdf]
Nov 23rdThanksgiving break.
Nov 30thYulia TsvetkovKenneth Mark Colby, Sylvia Weber and Franklin Dennis Hilf. Artificial Paranoia. Artificial Intelligence 1971. [pdf]
Dec 7thAshwin ParanjapeTerry Winograd. Understanding Natural Language. Cognitive Psychology 1972. [pdf]
Dec 14thKevin ClarkJason D. Williams, Geoffrey Zweig. End-to-end LSTM-based dialog control optimized with supervised and reinforcement learning. arXiv:1606.01269. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Summer 2016
Wednesday 12:00-1:15pm, Gates 120

Person in charge: Urvashi Khandelwal

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jun 29thAlex WangSarath Chandar, Sungjin Ahn, Hugo Larochelle, Pascal Vincent, Gerald Tesauro, Yoshua Bengio. Hierarchical Memory Networks. arXiv:1605.07427. [pdf]
Jul 6thFereshte KhaniDave Golland, Percy Liang, Dan Klein. A Game-Theoretic Approach to Generating Spatial Descriptions. EMNLP2010. [pdf]
Jul 13thMihail EricAntoine Bordes, Jason Weston. Learning End-to-End Goal-Oriented Dialog. arXiv:1605.07683. [pdf]
Jul 20thArun ChagantySanjeev Arora, Yuanzhi Li, Yingyu Liang, Tengyu Ma, Andrej Risteski. Linear Algebraic Structure of Word Senses, with Applications to Polysemy. arXiv:1601.03764. [pdf]
Jul 27thSebastian SchusterSiva Reddy, Oscar Tackstrom, Michael Collins, Tom Kwiatkowski, Dipanjan Das, Mark Steedman, Mirella Lapata. Transforming Dependency Structures to Logical Forms for Semantic Parsing. ACL2016 [pdf]
Aug 3rdGrace MuznyMohit Iyyer, Anupam Guha, Snigdha Chaturvedi, Jordan Boyd-Graber, Hal Daume III. Feuding Families and Former Friends: Unsupervised Learning for Dynamic Fictional Relationships. NAACL2016. [pdf]
Aug 10th ACL.
Aug 17thACL review.
Aug 24thEllie Pavlick (guest talk)Ellie Pavlick, Chris Callison-Burch. Most babies are little and most problems are huge: Compositional Entailment in Adjective-Nouns. ACL2016. [pdf]
Aug 31stPanupong PasupatDaniel Andor, Chris Alberti, David Weiss, Aliaksei Severyn, Alessandro Presta, Kuzman Ganchev, Slav Petrov, Michael Collins. Globally Normalized Transition-Based Neural Networks. arXiv:1603.06042. [pdf]
Sep 7thUrvashi KhandelwalTsung-Hsien Wen, David Vandyke, Nikola Mrksic, Milica Gasic, Lina M. Rojas-Barahona, Pei-Hao Su, Stefan Ultes, Steve Young. A Network-based End-to-End Trainable Task-oriented Dialogue System. arXiv:1604.04562. [pdf]
Sep 14thYuhao ZhangRafal Jozefowicz, Oriol Vinyals, Mike Schuster, Noam Shazeer, Yonghui Wu. Exploring the Limits of Language Modeling. arXiv:1602.02410. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2016
Wednesday 12:15-1:15pm, Gates 219

Person in charge: Danqi Chen, Thang Luong

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 13thWill MonroeJacob Andreas, Dan Klein. Reasoning About Pragmatics with Neural Listeners and Speakers. arXiv:1604.00562. [pdf]
April 20thKevin ClarkMarc’Aurelio Ranzato, Sumit Chopra, Michael Auli, Wojciech Zaremba. Sequence Level Training with Recurrent Neural Networks. ICLR2016. [pdf]
April 27thJon KrauseAlex Graves. Adaptive Computation Time for Recurrent Neural Networks. arXiv:1603.08983. [pdf]
May 4thRobin JiaBen Hixon, Peter Clark, Hannaneh Hajishirzi. Learning Knowledge Graphs for Question Answering through Conversational Dialog. NAACL2015. [pdf]
May 11thFereshte KhaniAndreas Vlachos, Stephen Clark. A New Corpus and Imitation Learning Framework for Context-Dependent Semantic Parsing. TACL2014. [pdf]
May 18thPeng Qi Trevor Cohn, Cong Duy Vu Hoang, Ekaterina Vymolova, Kaisheng Yao, Chris Dyer, Gholamreza Haffari. Incorporating Structural Alignment Biases into an Attentional Neural Translation Model. NAACL2016. [pdf]
May 25thArun Chaganty Kai-Wei Chang, Akshay Krishnamurthy, Alekh Agarwal, Hal Daume; III, John Langford. Learning to Search Better than Your Teacher. ICML2015 [pdf]
Jun 1stEMNLP deadline
Jun 8thDanqi ChenAdam Trischler, Zheng Ye, Xingdi Yuan, Jing He, Phillip Bachman, Kaheer Suleman. A Parallel-Hierarchical Model for Machine Comprehension on Sparse Data. arXiv:1603.08884. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2016
Wednesday 1-2pm, Gates 120 (usually)

Person in charge: Thang Luong

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 20thPanupong PasupatJacob Andreas, Marcus Rohrbach, Trevor Darrell, Dan Klein. Composing neural network modules for question answering. arXiv2015/2016. [paper1] [paper2]
Jan 27thArun ChagantyJudith Eckle-Kohler, Roland Kluge, Iryna Gurevych. On the Role of Discourse Markers for Discriminating Claims and Premises in Argumentative Discourse. EMNLP2015. [pdf]
Feb 3rdSam BowmanSurvey of four papers on NNs for textual entailment. [paper1] [paper2] [paper3] [paper4]
Feb 10thRobin JiaFelix Hill, Antoine Bordes, Sumit Chopra, Jason Weston The Goldilocks Principle: Reading Children's Books with Explicit Memory Representations. arXiv2015. [pdf]
Feb 17thFereshte KhaniVolodymyr Kuleshov, Percy Liang. Calibrated Structured Prediction. NIPS2015. [pdf]
Feb 24thSuzanne TamangClinical event extraction. [paper1] [paper2] [paper3]
Mar 2ndThang LuongMulti-task neural translation. [paper1] [paper2]
Mar 9thRob VoigtMore than Words + Media and Bias. [paper1] [paper2]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2015
Wednesday 1:00-2:00pm, Gates 120 (usually)

Person in charge: Thang Luong

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 7thRussell StewartS. Sukhbaatar, A. Szlam, J. Weston & R. Fergus. End-To-End Memory Networks. arXiv2015. [pdf]
Oct 14thPanupong PasupatYoav Artzi, Kenton Lee and Luke Zettlemoyer. Broad-coverage CCG Semantic Parsing with AMR. EMNLP2015. [pdf]
Oct 21stPeng QiKarthik Narasimhan, Tejas Kulkarni and Regina Barzilay. Language Understanding for Text-based Games using Deep Reinforcement Learning. EMNLP2015. [pdf]
Oct 28thDanqi ChenSurvey of attention-based papers: neural machine translatione, summarization, textual entailment, and reading comprehension.
Nov 4thQuoc LeInvited Talk. End-to-end Deep Learning for Text and Speech . Venue: Gates 219.
Nov 11thWil HamiltonTatsunori B. Hashimoto, David Alvarez-Melis, Tommi S. Jaakkola. Word, graph and manifold embedding from Markov processes. arXiv2015. [pdf]
Nov 18th (Gates 219)Fereshte KhaniJacob Andreas and Dan Klein. Alignment-Based Compositional Semantics for Instruction Following. EMNLP2015. [pdf]
Nov 25thThanksgiving Break.
Dec 2ndRobin JiaMinjoon Seo, Hannaneh Hajishirzi, Ali Farhadi, Oren Etzioni, Clint Malcolm. Solving Geometry Problems: Combining Text and Diagram Interpretation. EMNLP2015. [pdf]
Dec 9thKevin ClarkRyan Kiros, Yukun Zhu, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Richard S. Zemel, Antonio Torralba, Raquel Urtasun, Sanja Fidler. Skip-Thought Vectors. arXiv2015. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2015
Wednesday 11:30-1:00pm, Gates 120 (usually)

Person in charge: Thang Luong

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 1stSam BowmanJoel Legrand, Ronan Collobert. Joint RNN-based Greedy Parsing and Word Composition. arXiv2014. [pdf]
Apr 8thBrainstorming
Apr 15thGabor AngeliMarjan Ghazvininejad, Kevin Knight. How to Memorize a Random 60-Bit String. NAACL2015. [pdf]
Apr 22ndPanupong PasupatGreg Durrett Dan Klein. A Joint Model for Entity Analysis: Coreference, Typing, and Linking. TACL2014. [pdf]
Apr 29thWill Monroe Jason Weston, Antoine Bordes, Sumit Chopra, Tomas Mikolov. Towards AI-Complete Question Answering: A Set of Prerequisite Toy Tasks. arXiv2015 [pdf]
May 6thDanqi ChenJonathan Malmaud, Jonathan Huang, Vivek Rathod, Nick Johnston, Andrew Rabinovich, and Kevin Murphy. What’s Cookin’? Interpreting Cooking Videos using Text, Speech and Vision. NAACL2015. [pdf]
May 13thCancelled due to Sanjeev Arora's talk.
May 20thIlya SutskeverInvited Talk. Sequence to sequence parsing and the Reinforcement Learning Neural Turing Machine. Venue: Gates 219.
Mar 27thBreak (EMNLP).
Jun 3rdKai ShengLuke Vilnis, Andrew McCallum. Word Representations via Gaussian Embeddings. ICLR2015. [pdf]
Jun 10thTim O'DonnellInvited Talk. Productivity, Reuse, and Lexicon Learning.

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2015
Wednesday 12:30-2:00pm, Gates 120 (usually)

Person in charge: Thang Luong

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 14thOriol VinyalInvited Talk. Recurrent Neural Nets as Language Decoders. Venue: Gates 219.
Jan 21stThang LuongSebastien Jean, Kyunghyun Cho, Roland Memisevic, Yoshua Bengio. On Using Very Large Target Vocabulary for Neural Machine Translation.. arXiv2014. [pdf]
Jan 28thPanupong PasupatAntoine Bordes, Sumit Chopra, Jason Weston. Question Answering with Subgraph Embeddings. EMNLP2014. [pdf]
Feb 4thSebastian SchusterLingpeng Kong, Nathan Schneider, Swabha Swayamdipta, Archna Bhatia, Chris Dyer, Noah A. Smith. A Dependency Parser for Tweets. EMNLP2014. [pdf]
Feb 11thRussell Stewart Jason Weston, Sumit Chopra, Antoine Bordes. Memory Networks. arXiv2014 [pdf]
Feb 18thArun ChagantyR. Tsarfaty, E. Pogrebezky, G. Weiss, Y. Natan, S. Szekely, D. Harel. Semantic Parsing Using Content and Context: A Case Study from Requirements Elicitation. EMNLP2014. [pdf]
Feb 25thBreak.
Mar 4thFei-Fei LiTED Talk Practice.
Mar 11thChris Callison-BurchInvited Talk. Crowdsourcing Translation. Venue: Gates 104 (12pm-1pm).

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2014
Wednesday 12:30-2:00pm, Gates 120 (usually)

Person in charge: Thang Luong

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 1stThang LuongDzmitry Bahdanau, Kyunghyun Cho, Yoshua Bengio. Neural Machine Translation by Jointly Learning to Align and Translate. arXiv2014. [pdf]
Oct 8thArun ChagantySiva Reddy, Mirella Lapata, Mark Steedman. Large-scale Semantic Parsing without Question-Answer Pairs. TACL2014. [pdf]
Oct 15thKai Sheng (Gates 463)Ryan Kiros, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Richard Zemel. Multimodal Neural Language Models. ICML2014. [pdf]
Oct 22ndMike KayserNal Kalchbrenner, Edward Grefenstette, Phil Blunsom. A Convolutional Neural Network for Modelling Sentences. ACL2014. [pdf]
Oct 29th Break
Nov 5thAlex RatnerNate Kushman, Yoav Artzi, Luke Zettlemoyer, Regina Barzilay. Learning to Automatically Solve Algebra Word Problems. ACL2014. [pdf]
Nov 12thJiwei LiMiao Fan, Deli Zhao, Qiang Zhou, Zhiyuan Liup, Thomas Fang Zheng, Edward Y. Chang. Distant Supervision for Relation Extraction with Matrix Completion. ACL2014. [pdf]
Nov 19thThang LuongQuoc Le, Tomas Mikolov. Distributed Representations of Sentences and Documents. ICML2014. [pdf]
Nov 26thThanksgiving break.
Dec 3rdWill HamiltonJacob Andreas, Andreas Vlachos, Stephen Clark. Semantic Parsing as Machine Translation. ACL2013. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Summer 2014
Wednesday 12:30-2:00pm, Gates 159 (usually)

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jul 16thKeenon WerlingDavid Hall, Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, John Canny, Dan Klein. Sparser, Better, Faster GPU parsing. ACL2014. [pdf]
Jul 23rdAngel ChangQi Li, Heng Ji. Incremental Joint Extraction of Entity Mentions and Relations. ACL2014. [pdf]
Jul 30thGabor AngeliCe Zhang, Christopher Ré. DimmWitted: A Study of Main-Memory Statistical Analytics. VLDB2014. [pdf]
Aug 6thCarolineMohit Bansal, David Burkett, Gerald de Melo, Dan Klein. Structured Learning for Taxonomy Induction with Belief Propagation. ACL2014. [pdf]
Aug 13thArthur Thomas Kollar, Stefanie Tellex, Matthew R. Walter, Albert Huang, Abraham Bachrach, Sachi Hemachandra, Emma Brunskill, Ashis Banerjee, Deb Roy, Seth Teller, Nicholas Roy. Generalized Grounding Graphs: A Probabilistic Framework for Understanding Grounded Language. JAIR2013. [pdf]
Aug 20thYushiJunwei Bao, Nan Duan, Ming Zhou, Tiejun Zhao. Knowledge-Based Question Answering as Machine Translation. ACL2014. [pdf]
Aug 27thSebastianNicholas Andrews, Jason Eisner, Mark Dredze. Robust Entity Clustering via Phylogenetic Inference. ACL2014. [pdf]
Sep 3rdKelvin GuuTao Lei, Yu Xin, Yuan Zhang, Regina Barzilay, Tommi Jaakkola. Low-Rank Tensors for Scoring Dependency Structures. ACL2014. [pdf]
Sep 10thSonal Gupta.Islam Beltagy, Katrin Erk, Raymond Mooney. Probabilistic Soft Logic for Semantic Textual Similarity. ACL2014. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2014
Wednesday 12:30-2:00pm, Gates 159 (usually)

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 23rdJonathanAnthony Fader, Luke Zettlemoyer, Oren Etzioni. Open Question Answering Over Curated and Extracted Knowledge Bases. KDD2014. [pdf]
Apr 30thSam BowmanKarl Moritz Hermann, Phil Blunsom. A Simple Model for Learning Multilingual Compositional Semantics. arXiv:1312.6173. [pdf]
May 7thSebastianLaura Chiticariu, Yunyao Li, Frederick R. Reiss. Rule-based Information Extraction is Dead! Long Live Rule-based Information Extraction Systems!. ACL2013. [pdf]
May 14thGabor AngeliJeffrey Flanigan, Sam Thomson, Jaime Carbonell, Chris Dyer, Noah A. Smith. A Discriminative Graph-Based Parser for the Abstract Meaning Representation. ACL2014. [pdf]
May 21stMike Kayser Jacob Devlin, Rabih Zbib, Zhongqiang Huang, Thomas Lamar, Richard Schwartz, John Makhoul. Fast and Robust Neural Network Joint Models for Statistical Machine Translation. ACL2014. [pdf]
May 28thSonal GuptaNi Lao, Amarnag Subramanya, Fernando Pereira, William W. Cohen. Reading The Web with Learned Syntactic-Semantic Inference Rules. EMNLP2012. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2014
Wednesday 12:30-2:00pm, Gates 159 (usually)

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 22ndGabor AngeliBenjamin Roth, Dietrich Klakow. Combining Generative and Discriminative Model Scores for Distant Supervision. EMNLP2013. [pdf]
Jan 29thPanupong PasupatPeter D. Turney. Distributional Semantics Beyond Words: Supervised Learning of Analogy and Paraphrase. TACL2013. [pdf]
Feb 5thJacob SteinhardtQi Zhang, Jin Qian, Huan Chen, Jihua Kang, Xuanjing Huang. Discourse Level Explanatory Relation Extraction from Product Reviews Using First-order Logic. EMNLP2013. [pdf]
Feb 12thRoy FrostigShay B. Cohen, Karl Stratos, Michael Collins, Dean P. Foster, Lyle Ungar. Experiments with Spectral Learning of Latent-Variable PCFGs. NAACL2013. [pdf]
Feb 19thArun Chaganty Greg Durrett, Dan Klein. Easy Victories and Uphill Battles in Coreference Resolution. EMNLP2013. [pdf]
Feb 26thAngel ChangAlan Ritter, Luke Zettlemoyer, Mausam, Oren Etzioni. Modeling Missing Data in Distant Supervision for Information Extraction. TACL2013. [pdf]
Mar 5thAdam VogelAnais Cadilhac, Nicholas Asher, Farah Benamara, Alex Lascarides. Grounding Strategic Conversation: Using negotiation dialogues to predict trades in a win-lose game. EMNLP2013. [pdf]
Mar 12thDanqi ChenHe He, Hal Daume III, Jason Eisner. Dynamic Feature Selection for Dependency Parsing. EMNLP2013. [pdf]
Mar 19thZiang Xie.Jimmy Dubuisson, Jean-Pierre Eckmann, Christian Scheible, Hinrich Schutze. The Topology of Semantic Knowledge. EMNLP2013. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2013
Wednesday 12:30-2:00pm, Gates 159 (usually)

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 16thSonal (Gates 400)Hector J. Levesque. On our best behaviour. IJCAI13. [pdf]
Oct 23rdRoy SchwartzRoy Schwartz. Semantic representation using Flexible Patterns. EMNLP2013. [pdf]
Oct 30thKenneth HeafieldBarry Haddow. Applying Pairwise Ranked Optimisation to Improve the Interpolation of Translation Models. [pdf]
Nov 6thJonathan BerantAnthony Fader et al. Paraphrase-Driven Learning for Open Question Answering [pdf]
Nov 13thDanqi ChenLiang Huang et al. Structured Perceptron with Inexact Search [pdf]
Nov 20thSida WangAlexander Rush. Optimal Beam Search for Machine Translation [pdf]
Nov 27thBreakBreak
Dec 4Angel ChengSebastian Riedel. Relation Extraction with Matrix Factorization and Universal Schemas [pdf]
Dec 11thGabor AngeliJohan van Benthem. A Brief History of Natural Logic [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Summer 2013
Thursdays 4:00pm-5:30pm, Gates 260

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jul 25RobShutova, Teufel, and Korhonen. Statistical Metaphor Processing. CL 2013. [pdf]
Aug 15ArunArtzi and Zettlemoyer. Weakly Supervised Learning of Semantic Parsers for Mapping Instructions to Actions. TACL 2013. [pdf]
Aug 22GaborCai and Yates. Large-scale Semantic Parsing via Schema Matching and Lexicon Extension.. ACL 2013. [pdf]
Aug 29ThangLiu, Watanabe, Sumita, and Zhao. Additive Neural Networks for Statistical Machine Translation. ACL 2013. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2013
Wednesdays 12:00pm-1:30pm, Gates 159

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 10Dan and SpenceChiang, Knight, and Wang. 11,001 New Features for Statistical Machine Translation. NAACL 2009. [pdf]
Apr 17JacobClark and Lappin. Computational Learning Theory and Language Acquisition. Philosophy of Linguistics. [pdf]
Apr 24RobBamman, O'Connor, and Smith. Censorship and Content Deletion in Chinese Social Media. First Monday 2012. [text]
May 1SidaGoodfellow, Warde-Farley, Mirza, Courville, and Bengio. Maxout Networks. arXiv 2013. [pdf]
May 8RoyMacherey, Och, Thayer, and Uszkoreit. Lattice-based Minimum Error Rate Training for Statistical Machine Translation.. EMNLP 2008. [pdf]
May 15JonathanDas and Smith. Graph-Based Lexicon Expansion with Sparsity-Inducing Penalties. NAACL/HLT 2012. [pdf]
May 22RoyRush and Petrov. Vine Pruning for Efficient Multi-Pass Dependency Parsing. NAACL/HLT 2012. [pdf]
May 29ArunRush and Collins. Exact Decoding of Syntactic Translation Models through Lagrangian Relaxation. ACL/HLT 2011. [pdf]
June 5MiriamWebber and Joshi. Discourse Structure and Computation: Past, Present and Future. ACL 2012. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2013
Wednesdays 12:00pm-1:30pm, Gates 359

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 23KevinHuang and Riloff. Modeling Textual Cohesion for Event Extraction. AAAI 2012. [pdf]
Jan 30SidaChiang. Hope and Fear for Discriminative Training of Statistical Translation Models. JMLR 2012. [pdf]
Feb 6WillDyer, Clark, Lavie, and Smith. Unsupervised Word Alignment with Arbitrary Features. ACL 2011. [pdf]
Feb 13JacobMcDonald, Pereira, Ribarov, and Hajic. Non-projective Dependency Parsing using Spanning Tree Algorithms. HLT/EMNLP 2005. [pdf]
Feb 27ArunScheible and Schuetze. Cutting Recursive Auto-encoder Trees. arXiv 2013. [pdf]
Mar 6RobMikolov, Chen, Corrado, and Dean. Efficient Estimation of Word Representation in Vector Space. arXiv 2013. [pdf]
Mar 13AdamBranavan, Kushman, Lei, and Barzilay. Learning High-Level Planning from Text. ACL 2012. [pdf]
Mar 20ArunYahya, Berberich, Elbassuoni, Ramanath, Tresp, and Weikum. Natural Language Questions for the Web of Data. EMNLP 2012. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2012
Wednesdays 12:30pm-2:00pm, Gates 159

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 10GaborSamdani, Chang, and Roth. Unified Expectation Maximization. NAACL 2012. [pdf]
Oct 17JulieBootkrajang and Kaban. Label-noise Robust Logistic Regression and Its Applications. ECML/PKDD 2012. [pdf]
Oct 24SonalMukherjee and Liu. Aspect Extraction through Semi-Supervised Modeling. ACL 2012. [pdf]
Oct 31RobYao, Riedel, and McCallum. Unsupervised Relation Discovery with Sense Disambiguation. ACL 2012. [pdf]
Nov 7JonathanGillenwater, Kulesza, and Taskar. Discovering Diverse and Salient Threads in Document Collections. EMNLP 2012. [pdf]
Nov 14WanxiangBerg-Kirkpatrick, Burkett, and Klein. An Empirical Investigation of Statistical Significance in NLP.. EMNLP 2012. [pdf]
Nov 28JeanShindo, Miyao, Fujino, and Nagata. Bayesian Symbol-Refined Tree Substitution Grammars for Syntactic Parsing. ACL 2012. [pdf]
Dec 5Everyone Writing Group - NAACL 2013 and Beyond
Dec 12 Risk Extraction Paper.

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2012
Wednesdays 1:00pm-3:00pm, Gates 159

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 11MartaBarzilay and Lapata. Modeling Local Coherence: An Entity-Based Approach. ACL 2005. [pdf; CL2008 version]
Apr 18ValBille. A Survey on Tree Edit Distance and Related Problems. TCS 2005. [pdf]
Apr 25MengqiuMao and Lebanon. Isotonic Conditional Random Fields and Local Sentiment Flow. NIPS 2007. [pdf]
May 2DavidMohamed, Hruschka and Mitchell. Discovering Relations between Noun Categories. EMNLP 2011. [pdf]
May 9RobElson, Dames and McKeown. Extracting Social Networks from Literary Fiction. ACL 2010. [pdf]
May 16GaborBernstein, Little, Miller, Hartmann, Ackerman, Karger, Crowell and Panovich. Soylent: A Word Processor with a Crowd Inside. UIST 2010. [pdf]
(and/or Bernstein, Brandt, Miller and Karger. Crowds in Two Seconds: Enabling Realtime Crowd-Powered Interfaces. UIST 2011. [pdf])
May 23WanxiangMartins, Smith and Xing. Concise Integer Linear Programming Formulations for Dependency Parsing. ACL-IJCNLP 2009. [pdf]
May 30MihaiMcIntosh, Yencken, Curran and Baldwin. Relation Guided Bootstrapping of Semantic Lexicons. ACL 2011. [pdf]
Jun 6HeeyoungLerman, Gilder, Dredze and Pereira. Reading the Markets: Forecasting Public Opinion of Political Candidates by News Analysis. COLING 2008. [pdf]
Jun 13SonalPopescu and Etzioni. Extracting Product Features and Opinions from Reviews. HLT-EMNLP 2005. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2012
Fridays 1:15pm-2:30pm, Gates 392

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 27MengqiuZhang, Fang, Xu and Wu. Binarized Forest to String Translation. ACL 2011. [pdf]
Feb 3KevinLi. Understanding the Semantic Structure of Noun Phrase Queries. ACL 2010. [pdf]
Feb 10AngelDas and Petrov. Unsupervised Part-of-Speech Tagging with Bilingual Graph-Based Projections. ACL 2011. [pdf]
Feb 17NataliaKim and Mooney. Generative Alignment and Semantic Parsing for Learning from Ambiguous Supervision. COLING 2010. [pdf]
Feb 24HeeyoungBerg-Kirkpatrick, Bouchard-Côté, DeNero and Klein. Painless Unsupervised Learning with Features. NAACL 2010. [pdf]
Mar 2SonalGanchev, Graça, Gillenwater and Taskar. Posterior Regularization for Structured Latent Variable Models. MLR 2010. [pdf]
Mar 9RobBerant, Gross, Mussel, Sandbank, Ruppin and Edelman. Boosting Unsupervised Grammar Induction by Splitting Complex Sentences on Function Words. BUCLD 2006. [pdf]
Mar 16WanxiangMcDonald, Petrov and Hall. Multi-Source Transfer of Delexicalized Dependency Parsers. EMNLP 2011. [pdf]
Mar 23GaborMulkar-Mehta, Welty, Hobbs and Hovy. Using Granularity Concepts for Discovering Causal Relations. FLAIRS 2011. [pdf]
Mar 30MartaIttoo, Bouma, Maruster and Wortmann. Extracting Meronymy Relationships from Domain-Specific, Textual Corporate Databases. NLDB 2010. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2011
Wednesdays 12:15pm-2:00pm, Gates 359

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 12AdamArtzi and Zettlemoyer. Bootstrapping Semantic Parsers from Conversations. EMNLP 2011. [pdf]
Oct 19DavidTsarfaty, Nivre and Andersson. Evaluating Dependency Parsing: Robust and Heuristics-Free Cross-Annotation Evaluation. EMNLP 2011. [pdf]
Oct 26KevinPoon and Domingos. Sum-Product Networks: A New Deep Architecture. UAI 2011. [pdf]
Nov 2ChrisManning. Part-of-Speech Tagging from 97% to 100%: Is It Time for Some Linguistics?CICLing 2011. [pdf]
Nov 9MartaBaroni and Lenci. Distributional Memory: A General Framework for Corpus-Based Semantics. CL 2010. [pdf]
Nov 16GaborChen, Benson, Naseem and Barzilay. In-domain Relation Discovery with Meta-constraints via Posterior Regularization. ACL 2011. [pdf]
Nov 30AngelClark. Efficient, correct, unsupervised learning of context-sensitive languages. CoNLL 2010. [pdf]
Dec 7ValAtkinson. Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa. Science 2011. [abstract]
Dec 14MihaiHoffmann, Zhang, Ling, Zettlemoyer and Weld. Knowledge-Based Weak Supervision for Information Extraction of Overlapping Relations. ACL 2011. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Spring 2011
Wednesdays 12:00pm-1:30pm, Gates 159

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Apr 13NateEisenstein, O'Connor, Smith and Xing. A Latent Variable Model for Geographic Language Variation EMNLP 2010. [pdf]
Apr 20AdamPoon and Domingos Unsupervised Ontology Induction from Text. ACL 2010. [pdf]
Apr 27YvesReisinger and Mooney Multi-Prototype Vector-Space Models of Word Meaning. NAACL 2010. [pdf]
May 4NikhilHoffman, Blei and Bach Online Learning for Latent Dirichlet Allocation. NIPS 2010. [pdf]
May 11GaborCorlett and Penn An Exact A* Method for Deciphering Letter-Substitution Ciphers. ACL 2010. [pdf]
May 18AngelLiang, Jordan and Klein Learning Dependency-Based Compositional Semantics. ACL 2011. [pdf]
May 25DavidDredze, Oates and Piatko We're Not in Kansas Anymore: Detecting Domain Changes in Streams. EMNLP 2010. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Winter 2011
Tuesdays 12:00pm-1:30pm, Gates 200

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Jan 18RobertBergsma, Bhargava, He and Kondrak. Predicting the Semantic Compositionality of Prefix Verbs. EMNLP 2010. [pdf]
Jan 25YvesMitchell and Lapata. Composition in Distributional Models of Semantics. Cognitive Science 34(8): 1388-1429, November 2010. [pdf]
Feb 1AdamDaume, Langford, and Marcu. Search-based Structured Prediction. Machine Learning Journal 2006. [pdf]
Feb 8NikhilDunning. Accurate Methods for the Statistics of Surprise and Coincidence. Computational Linguistics 19(1): 61-74, 1993. [pdf]
Feb 15SonalSauper, Haghighi and Barzilay. Incorporating Content Structure into Text Analysis Applications. EMNLP 2010. [pdf]
Feb 22HeeyoungGrosz and Sidner. Attention, Intentions and the Structure of Discourse. Computational Linguistics 12(3), 1986. [pdf]
Mar 1GaborMichel et al. Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science 17 December 2010: 1600. [pdf]
Mar 8DavidCharniak. Top-Down Nearly Context-Sensitive Parsing. EMNLP 2010. [pdf]

NLP Reading Group Schedule — Fall 2010
Mondays 11:00am-12:30pm, Gates 200

DateModeratorTopic / Paper
Oct 4Valentin SpitkovskyAdwait Ratnaparkhi. A Linear Observed Time Statistical Parser Based on Maximum Entropy Models
Oct 11Adam VogelDave Golland, Percy Liang and Dan Klein. A Game-Theoretic Approach to Generating Spatial Descriptions 2010. EMNLP [pdf]
Oct 18David McCloskyHagen Fuerstenau and Mirella Lapata. Graph Alignment for Semi-Supervised Semantic Role Labeling 2009. EMNLP. [pdf]

This article originally ran in the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Journal of Public Interest Law.

Introduction

In 1846, the United States saw the birth of the first correctional fee law when Michigan enacted legislation authorizing counties to charge sentenced jail inmates for the costs of medical care.3 A century and a half later in 1985, reacting to the rising costs of operating the Macomb County jail, the Sheriff and the County Board of Commissioners began collecting up to $60 a day from inmates behind bars.4 Today, the Macomb County Jail bills prisoners for: room and board, work release,5 physicals, dental visits, medication, prescriptions, nurse sick calls, and hospital medical treatment.6

Currently, Macomb County’s story is replayed in hundreds of jurisdictions across the country that charge fees to inmates for programs, functions, and services.7 Over the past forty years, the United States radically increased its use of prisons to combat crime. Consequently, the country’s state prison population grew by more than 700 percent since the 1970s.8 As a result, the United States boasts less than five percent of the world’s population but holds close to twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners.9 With the explosive correctional growth, state correctional costs have skyrocketed in the last four decades.10

While it is understandable that governments would look to recoup these costs, advocates and scholars have long argued that it represents bad policy. However, less work has been done to challenge the legality of this practice, perhaps because courts have historically been so unfriendly to these types of challenges.11 This essay suggests that exploring the constitutional implications of charging inmates for goods, services, and even their stay behind bars could help to build the case for policy change around the nation. Specifically, legal academics could provide persuasive support for this area of advocacy by reexamining the legality of the current systems of fees and fines under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause.12 Even if courts continue to strike down these legal arguments, policymakers may finally take heed of such compelling evidence that this practice may potentially violate the U.S. Constitution.

This essay proceeds in three parts. Part II provides a brief overview of the historical and present day uses of inmate fees along with a discussion of policies advocates cite when arguing to eradicate these practices. Part III then reviews the limited case law in this area and suggests new litigation strategies using the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.

 

History of Inmate Fees

A. History of Inmate Fees and Pay-To-Stay Practices

For years, counties and states have authorized prison officials to charge inmates for costs associated with incarceration dubbed “pay-to-stay” programs. These charges range from “per-diems” for their stays to charges for meals13, toilet paper14, clothing, medical co-pays, and dental fees.15 Many jurisdictions have begun charging inmates fees in order to collect any money they can to offset staggering correctional costs. In an effort to curry favor with voters, many policymakers and sheriffs tout the advantages of charging inmates fees to decrease the taxpayers’ need to foot the bill for incarceration.16

Many courts now impose monetary sanctions on a “substantial majority of the millions of U.S. residents convicted of felony and misdemeanor crimes each year.”17 In the last decade additional fees have begun to proliferate in the U.S. criminal justice system such as fees for electronic monitoring, sex offender registration, and increases in fees already on the books.18 States are also increasing the number and dollar value of fees associated with the criminal justice system,19 and these increased fees are proliferating beyond the courts. Departments of corrections and jails “are increasingly authorized to charge inmates for the cost of their imprisonment.”20 Counties and states continue to struggle with ways to increase revenue to pay for exorbitant incarceration bills. In 2010, the mean annual state corrections expenditure per inmate was $28,323, although a quarter of states spent $40,175 or more.21

By 1988, forty-eight states authorized some form of correctional fees.22 Room and board fees grew rapidly in the second half of the 1980s, becoming even more common in the 1990s and into the 21st century.23 By 2004, approximately one-third of county jails and more than fifty percent of state correctional systems had instituted “pay-to-stay” fees, charging inmates for their own incarceration.24

Today, this practice remains prevalent throughout the country. In a 2005 National Institute of Justice survey, thirty-eight percent of responding jails imposed some type of “pay-to-stay” fee, for housing, meals, or both.25 In fact, as of 2010, there were at least twenty-four states with statutes that authorize some type of fee in jail.26 It is possible that the practice occurs in even more states where counties have authorized this practice without state legislation. Unfortunately, no national database exists that would indicate how many jurisdictions across the country utilize this practice.

B. Rationales for Implementing Inmate Fees

In order to better understand some of the potential constitutional arguments against “pay-to-stay” fees, it is important to understand the four major rationales behind charging inmates fees once they are behind bars. The first rationale, already discussed in this article, is that the revenue stream helps to offset expensive incarceration budgets. The second rationale is punitive in nature and focuses on teaching inmates a lesson for their criminal acts. Some policy makers and correctional officials make the argument that charging inmates for their stay is grounded in rehabilitation or deterrence.27 Others argue that fees teach inmates valuable lessons.28 One Iowa Sheriff said about the practice of charging inmates, “if they are violating the law, then they should be the ones to pay for it.”29  Officials in Riverside County, California who voted to approve a plan to charge inmates for their stay and reimburse the county for food, clothing and health care stated, “You do the crime, you will serve the time, and now you will also pay the dime.”30

A third rationale is political in that policy makers, judges, and sheriffs can often gain the support of constituents by supporting inmate “pay-to-stay” fees. However, because it is often difficult and costly to collect the revenue, many commentators have dismissed the idea of charging inmates for their stay behind bars as political grandstanding.31 A jail administrator in Macomb County wrote that, “local jails are viewed as another county service that drains taxpayer dollars . . . . One might ask why law-abiding citizens should be burdened with the cost of incarceration when they never use that service, or why taxpayers should be further victimized by supporting inmates who have the wherewithal to pay.”32 In 2001, the Supreme Court of Washington explained in a case challenging automatic state reimbursement deductions from inmate accounts that inmates have “made it necessary for the State to keep and maintain [them] at a large cost.”33

A fourth rationale focuses on reducing frivolous requests for services by inmates. Prison officials often complain that they have less time and resources to spend on those with serious medical illnesses and that these policies result in “[l]ess money . . . spent for over-the-counter wraps, aids, ointments and medication given to inmates.”34 In many cases, facilities hope the fees “will reduce unnecessary sick call visits as well as cover a small portion of the costs of care.”35

C. Types of Pay-to-Stay

There are three different models of “pay-to-stay” programs in jails and prisons. The first type, often described as “per-diems”, refers to counties and states that charge individuals a fee per day. It is estimated that “a third of the nation’s 3,000-some county jails levy room-and-board fees.”36 The following are a handful of examples of practices that are common throughout our nation. Riverside County, California’s pay-to-stay program charges prisoners $142.42 per day, which is more than many local hotels.37 As of 2009, Oregon’s city council authorized its jail to charge inmates $60 a day.38 All inmates sentenced to the Pennington County Jail in Rapid City, South Dakota are charged $6.00 per day for room and board.39 Lancaster County Pennsylvania charges inmates $10 a day to stay at the county jail.40 Around two-thirds of Ohio Counties have implemented these fees. Franklin County, Ohio charges inmates $40 a day to stay in their jail.41 “Since its opening in 1998, the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville has utilized a ‘pay-to-stay’ policy in charging inmates $15 for booking fees and an additional $1 per day spent there.”42

The second type of inmate fee involves charging inmates for individual items such as: toilet paper, medical co-pays, dental services, meals, clothing, and other necessities. In 2009, the county jail in Maricopa County, Arizona began charging inmates $1.25 a day for meals.43 Gaston County, North Carolina, charges inmates $20 for medical and dental visits.44 Dallas County charges jail inmates $15 for most medical procedures.45 And, Collin County, Texas, charges $10 when inmates require a sick visit and $3 for each prescription.46 Many state laws allow the fees to be waived if inmates are indigent or have no funds in their inmate bank accounts.47

The third type of pay-to-stay model refers to four-star accommodations for those who can afford to pay to serve time in a more desirable facility.48 These types of pay-to-stay facilities garnered a good deal of media buzz after the New York Times published an article in 2007 noting:

[F]or offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.49

These types of accommodations are most common in California where many of the state’s prisons are overcrowded. So much so, that in May of 2011, the United States Supreme Court held in Brown v. Plata that the state’s prisons were “close to double the state prisons’ designed capacity,” and that the health and safety of inmates was “unconstitutionally compromised.”50 The Supreme Court noted that overcrowding in California’s prisons creates a system wide violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and ordered the state to reduce its prison population to 110,000, or to 137.5 percent of capacity.51

Because of the unique situation of gross overcrowding in California, facility upgrades for those convicted of crimes are more common than in other states. For example, the Fremont Police Department in California is now offering an option to pay a one-time fee of $45 plus $155 a night to those inmates serving short sentences on lesser charges, so that they can stay in a smaller facility and avoid the county jail.52 The Fullerton County Jail in California offers a similar program for $100 a day and notes on its website that pay-to-stay inmates are “housed separate from all other inmates and will have minimal contact with non-sentenced inmates.”53 In Southern California there are approximately fifteen of these types of pay-to-stay programs, where the daily charges range from $85.00 to $255.00 per day.54 Most agencies utilize three avenues to recover fees from inmates: (1) billing the inmates as fees accrue; (2) deducting money from inmate accounts (usually the commissary funds); and (3) billing inmates post-incarceration.55

This essay deals with charging per-diems for an inmates’ stays as well as charging for necessities and other expenses while incarcerated. This essay does not touch on “pay-to-stay upgrades” where inmates can choose to stay at a nicer facility.

D. Policy Objections

There are myriad reasons why charging inmates is a shortsighted public policy. Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons not to charge these fees is that citizens chose to remove these individuals from society. Therefore, collectively, our society needs to bear the brunt of the fiscal costs that feeding, housing, and providing medical attention to this group of people brings with it.56 Yes, incarceration is expensive - exorbitantly expensive, in fact - but that is the price American citizens need to pay for its jails and prisons that are now exploding with inmates. Shifting even just a portion of the burden of the cost to inmates, eighty percent of whom are indigent,57 is not only bad fiscal policy, but also provides less incentive to policymakers to keep down costs associated with incarceration.

Advocates contend that charging individuals fines in jail imposes an unnecessary burden on inmates, disproportionally affecting indigent populations58 along with racial and ethnic minorities,59 all of whom are disproportionately represented among the prisoner population. Advocates further point out that these policies generate barriers to reentry60 and encourage a cycle of poverty that is difficult to escape.61 Adding fuel to the fire, family members often pick up the tab for these fees, depositing funds in inmate commissary accounts so they do not leave jail or prison with criminal justice debt. An article in the National Prison Project Journal noted, “[o]ften prisoners will do without hygiene items or medical treatment rather than have their families deposit funds that will be immediately confiscated to satisfy prison charges.”62

Additionally, the effect of one individual inmate’s decision not to seek medical treatment because he or she cannot afford the copayment contains far-reaching consequences beyond that one inmate. For example, inmates and correctional staff who have contact with an inmate who forgoes a sick visit are all in danger of contracting a communicable disease. If a prison fee delays an inmate seeking treatment, consequences may reverberate throughout a correctional facility.63

These fines are also counter-productive in ensuring public safety. Incarcerated people who re-enter society are less likely to successfully reintegrate with hundreds of dollars in fines hanging over their heads.64 Furthermore, it often costs more to administrate the fees than counties are generating in revenue.65 Some agencies report actual revenues from their fee based operations are as low as six percent of the fees assessed.66 Other programs, like one in Olmsted County, Minnesota, have outright failed; the Minnesota program was revamped because administrative costs outpaced revenue. A number of agencies have noted their lack of staff capacity to effectively monitor and collect fees.67

Toward A New Litigation Strategy

Plaintiffs have litigated fees behind bars for decades on a variety of grounds. Litigants have raised a litany of constitutional challenges to health care fees,68 booking fees,69 room-and-board fees,70 and charges incurred while inmates were held pre-trial.71 Both state and federal courts have upheld the legality of jails’ rights to deduct funds directly from prisoner commissary accounts.72 Federal courts have similarly upheld the right of jails to deduct the cost of room-and-board directly from a pre-trial detainee’s prisoner account to pay for housing costs.73 In most cases, the courts have held that these fees do not violate the U.S. Constitution. However, one court held that a jail’s policy in taking cash from all prisoners, including pre-trial detainees, for booking fees at the time of initial booking at the jail violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process because no pre-deprivation hearing was offered.74

Those arguing charges incurred in jail are unconstitutional have raised Due Process and Equal Protection arguments. Many have argued that the practice violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment. In almost all cases, the courts have sided with the agencies that implement these practices.

Many litigation strategies - from challenges against cruel and unusual punishment to arguments about equal protection - have proven unsuccessful. However, from this unfavorable case law advocates opposing these fees have overlooked doctrinal openings to conduct challenges under the U.S. Constitution. This essay will specifically explore the potential to challenge inmate fees under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. Advocates, in particular, would benefit from utilizing litigation as part of their reform strategy. Although successful in getting their objections written about by the media, news articles have a limited ability to change these practices. The media covers these stories relentlessly, but advocates see almost no impact as more and more jurisdictions implement fee practices each year. Litigation utilizing the Excessive Fines Clause offers a unique opportunity to argue that charging inmates fees while incarcerated violates the U.S. Constitution.

A. Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment provides “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”75 The Clause, while once virtually ignored, has been “rescued from obscurity” in recent years.76 As recently as 1998, the Supreme Court wrote,” [t]his Court has had little occasion to interpret, and has never actually applied, the Excessive Fines Clause.77 The adoption of the Eighth Amendment generated little debate in the First Congress and the state ratifying conventions.78 In fact, the Clause was taken verbatim from the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, which mirrored a provision of the English Bill of Rights of 1689.79 Any debate regarding the Eighth Amendment has tended to focus on the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, not the Excessive Fines Clause. However, some limitations on fine amounts are found in the Magna Carta.80 In fact, the Constitution is silent on how to determine whether a fine is “excessive” under the Excessive Fines Clause. An 1819 case from the Kentucky Court of Appeals states “no definite criterion is furnished by the constitution or bill of rights by which to ascertain what fine would or would not be excessive.”81

B. Forfeiture Cases Examined Under the Excessive Fines Clause

The Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment is violated only if the disputed fees are both “fines”, which constitute punishment for an offense, and are “excessive.”82 According to Webster’s dictionary, “excessive” means “surpassing the usual, the proper, or a normal measure of proportion.” Little jurisprudence exists on the Excessive Fines Clause. However, to the extent that the Supreme Court has interpreted the Excessive Fines Clause, it has done so primarily in civil and criminal forfeiture cases over the last two decades.

In 1993, in Alexander v. United States, the Court recognized that a criminal forfeiture of an individual’s entire business might constitute an excessive fine, remanding the case back to the Court of Appeals.83 Five years later, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to examine another forfeiture claim under the Excessive Fines Clause in United States v. Bajakajian. In Bajakajian, Hosep Bajakajian attempted to leave the United States with $357,144 in U.S. currency without claiming the funds through U.S. customs inspectors.84 The currency was seized and Bajakajian was taken into custody.85 The Supreme Court based its holding on an historical reading of the Excessive Fines Clause; it concluded the “touchstone of the constitutional inquiry under the Excessive Fines Clause is the principle of proportionality: The amount of the forfeiture must bear some relationship to the gravity of the offense that it is designed to punish.”86 Justice Thomas’s opinion stated that the penalty of a forfeiture of $357,144 was “grossly disproportional to the gravity of [the] offense.”87 Although Bajakajian’s holding applies to an asset forfeiture proceeding, its principle can be borrowed and applied to cases in which an inmate is required to pay fees while behind bars.

C. Seminal Constitutional Casein Jail Fee Jurisprudence

The seminal case in jail fee jurisprudence is Tillman v. Lebanon County Correctional Facility.88 Tillman is considered significant because the petitioner raised every constitutional argument inmates have argued in past litigation - except for the Ex Post Facto Clause.89 In the case, Leonard Tillman, a former prisoner in an Ohio County jail, brought suit after he was assessed a fee of $10 per day for housing costs stemming from his incarceration in a county facility for state parole violations.90 Ultimately, he accumulated a debt exceeding $4,000.91 The unpaid fees were then turned over to a collection agency after he was released from prison.92 Tillman was later recommitted to the jail, and pursuant to the facility’s Cost Recovery Program, officials confiscated half of the funds in Tillman’s wallet as well as half of all funds he received during his stay at the facility in order to satisfy the balance.93

Tillman sued the warden and the jail under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the $10 a day fee he was charged while in jail constituted cruel and unusual punishment and was an excessive fine,94 and the jail’s confiscation of funds from his wallet and commissary account to satisfy his debt resulted in a deprivation of property without due process of law.95 Tillman failed to argue violation of a particular law, but the Magistrate Judge engaged in an analysis of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment and issued a memorandum opinion recommending that the motion be denied.96 The Magistrate Judge questioned whether these facts presented a case of cruel and unusual punishment because here, prisoners do not have a choice but to be imprisoned, and the fees incurred are based on their incarceration and not on something they could have control over.97 The defendants filed supplemental affidavits, including copies of relevant sections from the updated prisoner handbooks.98 Defendants also stated that “the Cost Recovery Program was not intended to punish, but rather to rehabilitate by teaching inmates financial responsibility by sharing in the costs of their food, housing, clothes, and protection.”99 The District Court granted summary judgment and dismissed the complaint.100

Regarding the cruel and unusual punishment argument, the District Court found that Tillman was never denied basic human necessities.101 Rejecting the “excessive fines” argument, the Court declined to treat the fees as a “fine,” and concluded that “even if they were fines, they were not excessive because the costs of incarceration by definition cannot be disproportionate to the offense.”102 The district court also rejected Tillman’s due process claim because the “notice given and postdeprivation remedy available through the grievance procedure were constitutionally adequate.”103 Regarding Tillman’s equal protection claim, the District Court held that it was not violated because some inmates were taught financial responsibility because they were afforded opportunities to work and were additionally required to make payments of at least $70.00 per week.104 The District Court dismissed the case and Tillman appealed.

The Third Circuit affirmed the lower court’s opinion and held that the amount of fees was not “excessive” under the Eighth Amendment.105 The Third Circuit noted that the $4,000 in fees charged Tillman were not punitive; they were determined to be “rehabilitative” in nature.106 Agreeing with the District Court’s reasoning, the Third Circuit noted that the factual record in the case indicated that the program “was imposed for rehabilitative and not punitive purposes.”107 The Third Circuit held that even if the Cost Recovery Program of the facility is considered a “fine,” and not a “fee,” it was not “excessive” because the fines were not out of proportion to the maximum fine of $100,000 for Tillman’s convicted offense - possession with intent to deliver approximately 29 grams of cocaine.108

Regarding Tillman’s other Constitutional claims, the Third Circuit held that the assessment of daily fees did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment so long as the inability to pay the fees did not affect the prisoner’s access to needed services.109 The Third Circuit additionally held that the facility’s taking of Tillman’s money for fees was not in violation of the Due Process Clause because of the availability of a prisoner grievance program.110 Further, the Court held that the facilities assignment of fees against Tillman did not violate Equal Protection because it did not implicate a protected class and was reasonably related to a legitimate government interest.111 Interestingly, the Court held that it was legitimate for the government to teach “fiscal responsibility” to inmates, and to have them pay a portion of the state’s expenditures incurred by their incarceration.112

While the majority of courts have followed Tillman when grappling with the constitutionality of fees assessed against prisoners, Tillman opened the door for a constitutional argument that inmate fees violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. The Tillman Court acknowledged the possibility that the “fees” could be considered “fines” under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.

D. Further Litigation Inquiries

New constitutional arguments can bolster advocacy by questioning the legitimacy of jail fees for prisoners. Particularly, academics and creative litigants should look carefully at the cases that have discussed whether fees in jail are rehabilitative or punitive. Once classified as “punitive,” they may be treated as “fines” and thereby receive protection under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Of particular note, the Third Circuit in Tillman held that even if the Cost Recovery Program is considered a “fine” it is not “excessive;” the court stated,” [r]ather than being used to punish, the undisputed evidence shows that the fees are designed to teach financial responsibility.”113 The Third Circuit in Tillman, citing to the Supreme Court’s holding in Austin v. United States, recognized that if Tillman’s “assessed fees and confiscations. . .’can be explained as serving in part to punish”’ the Cost Recovery Program triggers the Excessive Fines Clause - “even if they may also be understood to serve remedial purposes.”114 However, the Third Circuit based its decision on the undisputed record in the lower court confirming the program was purely rehabilitative and in no way punitive in nature.115 Nevertheless, the Third Circuit in Tillman addressed the issue and stated that even if the program constituted “fines,” the $4,000 debt was not deemed excessive because it still remained “a sum that is less than one-twentieth the legally permissible fine.”116

Recent case law in Eighth Amendment jurisprudence analyzing forfeiture cases has noted that a punitive forfeiture violates the Excessive Fines Clause “if it is grossly disproportional to the gravity of the offense that it is designed to punish.”117 Since Eighth Amendment jurisprudence analyzing fines under the Excessive Fines Clause has focused on the principle of proportionality, this is another doctrinal opening for additional litigation. In the forfeiture line of cases, the Supreme Court has held that the amount of forfeiture must bear some relationship to the gravity of the offense that it is designed to punish.118 However, the U.S. Supreme Court has noted that the history of the Excessive Fines Clause, although pointing toward a proportionality view, does not suggest how disproportionate to the gravity of the offense a fine must be in order to be deemed constitutionally excessive.119 Using this line of reasoning, creative litigants could possibly bring specific challenges in cases where an inmate’s fees are significantly more than the legally permissible statutory fine for the inmate’s crime.

Litigants should continue to argue that there are numerous cases where inmate fees are disproportional to their crime. For example, in New York State, the misdemeanor crime of driving while impaired by the combined influence of drugs or alcohol carries with it a jail sanction of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.120 Hypothetically, if an individual sentenced under this statute racked up jail fees in excess of $1,000 during their stay, there would be a compelling case to be made that the fees are excessive under the Eighth Amendment due to the fine’s disproportion to the maximum statutory fine.

Another strong challenge to these practices lies with litigants who can challenge fees where officials have described their intent as punitive. This opening is ripe for litigation after Tillman in jurisdictions where policymakers and jail and prison officials have made it clear that their fees are partly or wholly punitive in nature. Creative litigants should delve into the history and rationale for inmate fees in certain jurisdictions and bring challenges to those policies where it is evident that the motivation behind the fees is punitive. Punitive fees place themselves squarely within the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. These fines are unnecessarily excessive because an inmate is already deprived of his or her liberty pursuant to incarceration. It is overly punitive because the inmate has already been punished through deprivation of liberty and therefore additional fees are disproportionate and excessive. There are costs associated with removing a group of citizens from the community and forcing them to live separate and apart from society. There is a credible argument to be made that once society has determined to remove a group of individuals from the community, it is then “excessive” and “disproportionate” to charge them daily fees, booking fees, and even medical and other fees while their liberty is deprived and the justice system has already imposed a sentence for their crimes. Although this is at odds with much of the current case law on this issue, there is room to challenge prevailing assumptions (both factually and legally) in order to urge courts to rule that these fees are unconstitutional under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. As part of their Eighth Amendment challenge, litigants may also want to look at the “evolving standards of decency” jurisprudence when challenging fees that prisoners are required to pay behind bars. In the 1958 case of Trop v. Dulles, the Court struck down a law that allowed Trop, a native-born American, to be stripped of his citizenship for the crime of wartime desertion.121 Emphasizing the flexibility in the wording of the Eighth Amendment, Justice Warren wrote that “the Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”122 Although this standard has traditionally been applied in the context of the Cruel and Unusual Clause of the Eighth Amendment, Justice Warren’s words could equally refer to the entire Eighth Amendment, thus applicable to the Excessive Fines Clause. Given the enormous growth of the correctional population in the U.S. in addition to the statistics indicating that 80 percent of those incarcerated are indigent,123 one could argue that the “evolving standards of decency” should carry the day in order to protect a huge swath of poor inmates from becoming burdened with debt while incarcerated.

Conclusion

The incarceration rate in the U.S. has exponentially increased since 1970.124 From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people.125 This growth has created a staggering price tag. It is understandable that jails and prisons would look to offset costs for housing these individuals. However, it is unreasonable to require population whose debt to society is already being paid by the sentences imposed, 80 percent of whom are indigent, to chip in to foot the bill.

Advocates need a stronger leg to stand on when arguing that these fines are bad policy. While many arguments are compelling, jurisdictions forced to tighten belts continue to implement policies charging inmates fees while behind bars. With the help of additional case law raising questions about the constitutionality of these practices, even if not successful in court, their arguments can serve as thought-provoking catalysts for policymakers. Hopefully legislators can grapple with these issues when enacting statutes authorizing fines for those behind bars. While the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment provides only one narrow opening for litigation, it serves as an example of research and litigation that is ripe for creative litigants and academics to take on.

 

Footnotes

1 Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice

2 Dylan Woolf Harris, County to Charge Inmates for Food, Doctor, Elko Daily Free Press (February 6, 2014, 6:00 AM), http://elkodaily.com/news/county-to-charge-inmates-for-food-doctor/artic....

3 Dale Parent, Nat’l Inst. of Justice, Dep’t of Justice, Recovering Correctional Costs Through Offender Fees1 (1990), available at https:// www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/125084NCJRS.pdf.

4 Office of Sheriff Macomb Cnty. Mich., Inmate Reimbursement “Pay-to-Stay” Program, available at http:// www.macombsheriff.com/images/pdfs/reimbpay2stayonlinepam.pdf.

5 Id. Due to budget cuts, work release was suspended in 2010.

6 See Inmate Reimbursement “Pay-to-Stay” Program, supra note 3 (the jail’s policy states that a prisoner is never denied medical and dental services because of an inability to pay. In the past 26 years, the county has collected almost $18 million from prisoners, and it is estimated that the current cost of operating the jail costs about $38 million a year, approximately $94.32 a day per prisoner).

7 Barbara Krauth, et al., Nat’l Inst. of Corrections, Dep’t of Justice, Fees Paid by Jail Inmates: Fee Categories, Revenues, and Management Perspectives in a Sample of U.S. Jails 2 (2005), available at https:// s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/021153.pdf (“Of the 224 survey responses, 202 jurisdictions charge fees to inmates for at least some programs, functions, or services.”).

8 Pew Ctr. on the States, Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years 1 (2010), available at http:// www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/sentencing_and_ corrections/Prison_Count_2010.pdf.

9 See Roy Walmsley, Int’l Ctr. for Prison Studies, World Prison Population List 1, 3 (9th ed. 2011), available at http://www.idcr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/WPPL-9-22.pdf (showing that, as of May 2011, the United States incarcerates 2.29 million of the 10.1 million prisoners around the world).

10 See Tracey Kyckelhahn, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dep’t of Justice, State Corrections Expenditures, FY 1982-20101 (rev. 2013), available at http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/scefy8210.pdf (“Between 1982 and 2001, total state corrections expenditures increased each year, rising from $15.0 billion to $53.5 billion in real dollars. Between 2002 and 2010, expenditures fluctuated between $53.4 billion and $48.4 billion.”).

11 See infra Part III.

12 U.S. Const. amend. VIII (“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”).

13 Laura Bauer, Some Inmates Pay for Their Crimes and Jail Stays, KansasCity.com (Apr. 24, 2009), http:// www.jocosheriff.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=47 (Maricopa County, Arizona charges inmates $1.25 a day for meals in the county jail).

14 Nate Rawlings, Welcome To Prison, Will You Be Paying Cash Or Credit?, Time (Aug. 21, 2013), http://nation.time.com/2013/08/21/welcome-to-prison-will-you-be-paying-c....

15 Diane Turbyfill, County Spent $1.9 Million on Jail Health Care, Will New Law Help?, Gaston Gazette (Nov 2, 2013, 6:57 PM), http:// www.gastongazette.com/spotlight/county-spent-1-9-million-on-jail-health-... (Gaston County, North Carolina charges inmates $20 for medical and dental visits.).

16 Assoc. Press, Nevada County’s Plan to Charge Inmates for Jail Meals Draws Lawsuit Threat, Fox News (Feb. 8, 2014), http:// www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/08/nevada-county-plan-to-charge-inmates-for-j... (‘’Why should the people of Elko County pay for somebody else’s meals in jail?’ said Commissioner Grant Gerber, a backer of the plan who thinks the fees should be higher.”).

17 Alexes Harris et al., Drawing Blood from Stones: Legal Debt and Social Inequality in the Contemporary United States, 115 Am. J. Soc. 1753, 1756 (2010).

18 See Kim Shayo Buchanan, It Could Happen to “You”: Pay-to-Stay Jail Upgrades, 106 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 60 (2007), available at http://www.michiganlawreview.org/narticles/it-could-happen-to-you-pay-to....

19 See Alicia Bannon et al., Brennan Ctr. Justice, Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Reentry 7 (2010), available at http:// www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Fees%20and%C20Fines% 20FINAL.pdf.

20 Harris et al, supra note 17, at 1759.

21 Kyckelhahn, supra note 10, at 4.

22 Parent, supra note 2, at 1 (“Specifically, statutes authorized fees charged to probationers in 28 states, to jail inmates in 26 states, to parolees in 15 states, and to prison inmates in 39 states.”).

23 See, e.g., Philip P. Pan, Pr. George’s Considers Fee for Jail Food; Corrections Chief’s Plan Troubles Local ACLU, Wash. Post, June 1, 1998, at B01; Desiree Evans, Doing Time on Their Own Dime: More States Charge Inmates for Stays in Jail, Prison, Inst. for S. Stud. (May 19, 2009), http:// www.southernstudies.org/2009/05/doing-time-on-their-own-dime-more-states....

24 Evans, supra note 23.

25 Krauth et al., supra note 7.

26 Alison Bo Andolena, Can They Lock You Up and Charge You for It?: How Pay-to-Stay Corrections Programs May Provide A Financial Solution for New York and New Jersey, 35 Seton Hall Legis. J. 94, 100 (2010).

27 Nancy Petersen, Proposal Would Have Chesco Inmates Pay Room And Board They’d Be Charged $2 A Day. The Aim: To Teach Responsibility. It’s Gaining Among The Prison Board, Philly.com (Sept. 13, 1995), http:// articles.philly.com/1995-09-13/news/25718535_1_prison-board-inmates-domestic-relations-charges (‘I think we have a two-fold responsibility to the taxpayers ....One is to collect as much as we can in terms of user fees from the inmates at the prison. The other is to attempt to rehabilitate the prisoners so that they are not a future burden yet again on the taxpayers. You do that by teaching them financial responsibility.”) (quoting Chester County Controller Joseph Carpenter); Inmates’ Jail Fee Yields Little Green for Min., St. Paul Pioneer Press (Sept. 19, 2003), available at http:// www.corrections.com/articles/10529-inmates-jail-fee-yields-little-green-... (“During the past year, at least one-quarter of Minnesota counties started charging for room and board. Dubbed ‘pay to stay,’ the purpose was two-fold: bring in money to help offset ever-rising jail costs and send a message to criminals that ‘if you do the crime, you pay to do the time.”’).

28 N.Y. State Dep’t of Corr. Servs., Inmates Pay $4M Annually in Fines, Fees to Taxpayers, Crime Victims, DOCS Today, Apr. 2004, at 4 (Former New York Corrections Commissioner Glenn Goord explains that fees “teach inmates ... to deter misconduct that often-times endangers staff or other inmates, or to teach inmates that there is a cost associated with the privileges that they seek.”).

29 Todd Bensman, States Making Inmates Pay for Services in Jail, Dallas Morning News, May 15, 1998, at 35A (quoting an Iowa Sheriff who favors pay-to-stay).

30 Jennifer Medina, In California, a Plan to Charge Inmates for Their Stay, N.Y. Times (Dec. 11, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/us/in-riverside-california-a-plan-to-c....

31 Julia Silverman, Oregon Prisoners Must Pay for Jail Stay, Assoc. Press, May 21, 2004.

32 Michelle M. Sanborn, The Pay-to-Stay Debate: Inmates Must Take Financial Responsibility, Corrections Today, Aug. 2003, available at http:// www.aca.org/publications/ctarchivespdf/aug03/pnt-counter.pdf.

33 Dean v. Lehman, 18 P.3d 523, 533 (Wash. 2001).

34 Sanborn, supra note 32.

35 Krauth et al., supra note 7, at 15.

36 Sara B. Miller, Is it Fair and Legal for Inmates to Foot their Room and Board? Christian Sci .Monitor (July 21, 2004), http:// www.csmonitor.com/2004/0721/p02s01-usju.html.

37 Pay to Stay Jail Programs Growing, https:// www.prisonlegalnews.org/24855_displayArticle.aspx (last visited Mar. 17, 2014).

38 Bauer, supra note 13.

39 Room & Board, Pennington Cnty. Jail, http:// www.penningtoncountysheriff.com/Jail/room-and-board.html (last visited Mar. 17, 2014).

40 P.J. Reilly, Lancaster County Prison Board Seeking Ways to Recoup Costs, Lancaster Online (Sept. 12, 2013, 7:06 PM), http:// lancasteronline.com/article/local/677903_Lancaster-County-Prison-Board-seeking-ways-to-recoup-costs.html.

41 Mary Beth Lane & Josh Jarman, Poor Inmates Leave Jails Short on Pay-To-Stay Fees, Columbus Dispatch (June 27, 2013, 4:52 AM), http:// www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/06/27/poor-inmates-leave-jai... (“Franklin County charges inmates $40, which comes out of the inmate’s commissary fund. Inmates who cannot afford the fee are not charged, Sheriff Zach Scott said. ‘If their family later drops $200 in their commissary account, though, we’ll take the $40 out of it first.”’).

42 Tyler Buchanan, Report Fuels Debate Over Charging Inmates Jail Fees, Athens Ohio Today.com (Jan. 15, 2014, 1:17 PM), http:// www.athensohiotoday.com/news/report-fuels-debate-over-charging-inmates-j....

43 Bauer, supra note 13.

44 Turbyfill, supra note 14 (“The local jail spent $1.9 million for a medical services contract in 2012. Inmates paid a little more than $7,000 toward that expense.”).

45 Kevin Krause, Dallas County Jail Begins Charging Inmates Fee for Medical Services, Dallas News (June 5, 2012, 2:20 PM), http:// crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2012/06/dallas-county-jail-begins-charging-inmates-fee-for-medical-services.html/.

46 Id.

47 See Phil Schaenman et al., Urban Inst., Opportunities For Cost Savings In Corrections Without Sacrificing Service Quality: Inmate Health Care 14 (2013) (“A survey of state corrections health systems in 2009 found that the vast majority of states assess some type of medical co-payment, which often is not applied if the individual is indigent, has a chronic disease, needs emergency care, suffered a work-related injury, or is staff-ordered.”).

48 See Leah A. Plunkett, Captive Markets, 65 Hastings L.J. 57, 61 (2013).

49 Jennifer Steinhauer, For $82 a Day, Booking a Cell in a 5-Star Jail, N.Y. Times (Apr. 29, 2007), http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/us/29jail.html? pagewanted=print&_r=0.

50 Editorial Board, California’s Continuing Prison Crisis, N.Y. Times (Aug. 10, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/opinion/sunday/californias-continuing-....

51 Brown v. Plata, 131 S. Ct. 1910 (2011).

52 California Prison’s ‘Pay-To-Stay’ Option Offers ‘Quieter’ Rooms For $155 A Day, Huffington Post (July 28, 2013, 4:05 PM), http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/28/california-prison-pay-to-stay_n_366757....

53 Pay-to-Stay, City of Fullerton Police, http:// www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/depts/police/programs/jail/pay&uscore;to_stay.asp (last visited Feb. 21, 2014) (The website states that this is a fee-based program available to qualified men who have been convicted and sentenced to serve time in a city jail. They are only able to accept inmates who have been convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor crime).

54 Staff Report 1345, Alternative Confinement Program - Consideration of a Fremont Detention Facility Alternative Confinement (‘Pay-to-Stay‘) Program and Adoption of a Resolution Setting Corresponding Rates, City of Freemont California, http://fremontcityca.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx? ID=1345 (last visited Feb. 21, 2014); see also Steinhauer, supra note 48 (“For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts--who are known in the self-pay parlance as ‘clients’--get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song.”).

55 Special Comm’n to Study Feasibility of Establishing Inmate Fees, Inmate Fees As a Source of Revenue: Review of Challenges 100 (2001) (Appendix J containing info regarding the collection process and considerations).

56 See Sharon Dolovich, Cruelty, Prison Conditions, and the Eighth Amendment, 84 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 881, 892 (2009) (“The state’s carceral burden is the price society pays for the decision to incarcerate convicted offenders...If society prefers, it can choose not to incarcerate. But if it wants the benefits of incarceration, society must bear the burden, even if this choice should oblige the state to provide for the needs of people in prison in ways it routinely fails to do for needy people in the free world.”).

57 According to the American Bar Association (ABA), researchers estimate that anywhere from sixty to ninety percent of criminal defendants need publicly-funded attorneys, depending on the jurisdiction. Marea Beeman, Am. Bar Ass’n, Using Data To Sustain And Improve Public Defense Programs 2 (2012), available at http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_ aid_indigent_defendants/ls_sclaid_def_sustaining_and_improving_public_ defense.authcheckdam.pdf; Bureau Justice Assistance, Dep’t Justice, Contracting For Indigent Defense Services 3, n.1 (2000), available at https:// www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bja/181160.pdf (stating that sixty to ninety percent of all cases involve indigent defendants and thus use court-appointed counsel); see also Eve Brensike Primus, Procedural Obstacles to Reviewing Ineffective Assistance of Trial Counsel Claims in State and Federal Postconviction Proceedings, Criminal Justice, Fall 2009, available at http:// www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publishing/criminal_justice_section_ newsletter/crimjust_cjmag_24_3_primus.authcheckdam.pdf (‘With public defenders representing 80 percent of criminal defendants nationwide, the indigent defense crisis is a problem that our criminal justice system can no longer afford to ignore.‘); Caroline Wolf Harlow, Bureau Justice Statistics, Dep’t Justice, Defense Counsel In Criminal Cases 1 (2000), available at http:// bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/dccc.pdf (finding over 80% of people charged with a felony in state courts are represented by public defenders).

58 Supra note 57.

59 Am. Civil Liberties Union, In for a Penny: The Rise of America’s New Debtor’s Prisons 9 (2010), available at http:// www.aclu.org/files/assets/InForAPenny_web.pdf#page=6.

60 “The addiction to incarceration has had very real consequences-- creating a growing class of individuals with criminal convictions unable to obtain employment or housing, and trapped in perpetual poverty. As these individuals struggle under the weight of reentering society, many see no hope and instead return to crime.” Am. Civil Liberties Union Ohio, Adding It Up: The Financial Reality of Ohio’s Pay-to-Stay Jail Policies 2 (2013), available at http://www.acluohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/AddingItUp2013_06.pdf; see also “[F]ormerly incarcerated people face tremendous challenges finding and maintaining legitimate job opportunities because of low levels of education, limited work experience and vocational skills, poor attitudes, and a general reluctance of employers to hire people with convictions.” Amy L. Solomon et al., Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute, Life After Lockup: Improving Reentry from Jail to the Community 15 (2008), available at https:// www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bja/220095.pdf.

61 “’We’re talking about saddling a population that has nothing with debt, and then telling them they’re supposed to successfully re-enter society and be productive,’ said Rebecca Vallas, an attorney with Community Legal Services, which provides legal assistance to poor Philadelphia residents.” Lisa Riordan Seville & Hannah Rappleye, Sentenced to Debt: Some Tossed in Prison Over Unpaid Fines, NBC News, (May 27, 2013, 12:43 AM), http:// inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/27/18380470-sentenced-to-debt-some-tossed-in-prison-over-unpaid-fines?lite.

62 See Pat Nolan, Inmate User Fees: Fiscal Fix or Mirage?, Am. Corr. Assoc. (Aug. 2003), available at http:// www.aca.org/publications/ctarchivespdf/aug03/pnt-counter.pdf (citing to the National Prison Project Journal).

63 Nolan, supra note 62. (Inmates have no control over who they live with and are exposed to many communicable diseases. With the rapid spread of hepatitis C among inmates, it makes no sense to discourage inmates from seeking treatment when that merely results in further spreading the disease.).

64 See Bannon et al., supra note 19.

65 Nat’l Inst. Corr., Dep’t Justice, Fees Paid by Jail Inmates: Findings From The Nation’s Largest Jails (1997), available at http:// static.nicic.gov/Library/013599.pdf.

66 Id. at 17-18 (“According to some agencies, the burden of tracking accounts and collecting fees is not matched by the revenues generated. One agency is considering rescinding its policy of charging for services because ‘the process is cumbersome and unworkable’ and ‘does not enhance the goals and objectives of the department.”’).

67 Krauth et al., supra note 7, at 40.

68 See New Jersey v. Thomas, Nos. 09-2610(RMB), 09-4478(RMB), 2010 WL 715394, 8 (D.N.J. Feb. 24, 2010) (The court held that inmate’s assertion that an imposition of a $50 user fee from his prison account for payment of medical fees is not a violation of due process and his rights against unreasonable seizures).

69 See Berry v. Lucas County Board of Commissioners, No. 3:08cv3005, 2010 WL 480981, 6 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 4, 2010) (The court held that the booking fee of $100 is not a punitive confiscation of property by the sovereign and serves a legitimate non-punitive purpose, which is to recoup the costs of incarceration, and not as a means of punishment.).

70 See Reynolds v. Wagner, 128 F.3d 166, 183 (3d Cir. 1997) (affirming grant of summary judgment in favor of state correction officials on a complaint alleging an equal protection violation stemming from a now-discontinued experimental program to charge room and board based on an inmate’s level of income or in a state prison); see also Christiansen v. Clarke 147 F.3d 655 (8th Cir. 1998); Federal law acknowledges that a prisoner’s wages might be subject to deductions for room and board. 18 U.S.C. § 1761 (c)(2)(B); see also Browder v. Ankrom, No. 4:05cv-p9-m, 2005 WL 1026045, 6 (W.D. Ky. Apr. 25, 2005) (holding that a housing or per diem fee pursuant to a state statute or policy are not true deprivations of property because such funds are deducted in exchange for services rendered or goods provided); see also Sickles v. Kentucky, 439 F. Supp.2d 751, 757 (E.D. Ky. 2006) (holding that deduction of fees from county jail prisoners’ prison canteen accounts pursuant to Kentucky statute authorizing county jailers to adopt prisoner fee and expense reimbursement policies for expenses incurred by reason of prisoner’s confinement did not violate procedural due process because they are not afforded a pre-deprivation hearing before the fees are assessed and deducted).

71 See Barnes v. Brown County, No. 11-cv-00968, 2013 WL 1314015, 4 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 30, 2013) (The court held that a pretrial detainee’s Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were not violated when a Brown County jail charged him $20 a day even when he was held pretrial).

72 Sickles v. Campbell Cnty., 439 F. Supp. 2d 751, 752 (E.D. Ky. 2006) (upholding the right of two jails in Kentucky to deduct money directly from commissary accounts of jail prisoners); Dean v. Lehman, 18 P.3d 523 (Wash. 2001) (upholding the legality of automatic deduction of funds from inmates accounts).

73 Slade v. Hampton Rds. Reg’l Jail, 407 F.3d 243, 246-47 (4th Cir. 2005) (finding this policy is not a violation of due process because the charge does not amount to a punishment).

74 See Allen v. Leis, 213 F. Supp. 2d 819 (S.D. Ohio 2002)

75 U.S. Const. amend. VIII.

76 Dep’t of Revenue of Mont. v. Kurth Ranch, 511 U.S. 767, 803 (1994).

77 United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 327 (1998).

78 Id. at 335.

79 See Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, Inc., 492 U.S. 257, 266-67; Nicholas M. McClean, Livelihood, Ability to Pay, and the Original Meaning of the Excessive Fines Clause, Hastings Const. L.Q. 833-902 (2013) (noting that essentially no Supreme Court case law exists addressing the Excessive Fines Clause prior to the modern era).

80 Magna Carta, Ch. 20, 21, reprinted in 1 The Statutes At Large: From Magna Carta to the End of the Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain 8-9 (Danby Pickering ed., 1762) (stating that fines should be graded according to offense seriousness and also should not deprive the offender of his livelihood).

81 Commonwealth v. Morrison, 9 Ky. 75, 79 (1819); McClean, supra note 79 at 871.

82 United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 327-34 (1998).

83 See Alexander v. United States, 509 U.S. 544, 548-59 (1993).

84 Bajakajian, 524 U.S. at 324-25.

85 Id.

86 United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 334 (1998).

87 Id. at 339-40.

88 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410 (3d Cir. 2000).

89 See Joshua Michtom, Making Prisoners Pay for Their Stay: How a Popular Correctional Program Violates the Ex Post Facto Clause, 13 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 187, 187-202 (2004) (examining the Tillman case and providing a comprehensive discussion about the constitutional implications of whether pay-to-stay, when imposed independently of criminal sentencing, is an ex post facto violation).

90 Tillman, 221 F.3d at 413.

91 Id.

92 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410 413 (3d Cir. 2000).

93 Id. at 414. (Pursuant to the Cost Recovery Program, which was adopted by the Lebanon County Prison Board on June 19, 1996, any funds generated through this program go toward the county’s general fund, which pays the facility’s operating costs.)

94 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410, 413 (3d Cir. 2000).

95 Id. at 415 (Tillman also argued the jail violated the Equal Protection Clause because some prisoners in the jail were not charged the daily fee).

96 Id.

97 Id. (The Magistrate Judge held that “although prisoners could avoid medical fees by declining to seek treatment, they could not avoid residing in an institution. That fact and the amount of debt created a triable question of fact regarding cruel and unusual punishment. Second, it could not be shown as a matter of law that the fees were not excessive fines in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Third, the defendants failed to demonstrate what due process, if any, was provided to the plaintiff. Finally, the Court held that it lacked sufficient information to conclude that there was no material question of fact regarding any equal protection claim.”).

98 Id.

99 Id.

100 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410, 415 (3d Cir. 2000).

101 Id. at 416.

102 Id.

103 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410, 416 (3d Cir. 2000).

104 Id.

105 Id. at 420.

106 Id. (noting that the fees were “designed to teach financial responsibility,” and that there was not an increase in the fee in connection to the “gravity of the offense,” and the prisoner was not held for a longer period of time for a failure to pay the fee).

107 Id.

108 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410, 420 (3d Cir. 2000).

109 Id. at 418 (the Third Circuit also commented that if Tillman “truly cannot meet his financial obligations, then his concerns would be more appropriately addressed in a federal bankruptcy court. That he is unhappy to be saddled with debt is understandable, but in the present circumstances, does not implicate the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause.” Id. at 420.

110 Id. at 422.

111 Tillman v. Lebanon Cnty. Corr. Facility, 221 F.3d 410, 423 (3d Cir. 2000).

112Id. at 423.

113 Id. at 420.

114 Id. (citing Austin v. United States, 509 U.S. 602, 620-21 (1993)).

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