Alabama court to poor offenders: Give blood or go to jail

Donated blood at the Puget Sound Blood Center.
(Image credit: Tim Matsui/Getty Images)

The last year has seen increased scrutiny of policing for profit as part of a larger criminal justice reform debate, but policing for blood is a new one.

In Perry County, Alabama, offenders who couldn't afford to pay a fine at the local court house were presented with two options: Go to jail or give blood and get a $100 fine credit. In a recording of court proceedings obtained by The New York Times, Judge Marvin Wiggins announces that "there's a blood drive outside," and for those who can't afford to pay up and don't want to give blood, "the sheriff has enough handcuffs."

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of TheWeek.com. She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.