ABF Affiliated Scholar and former ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Program Scholar Brittany Friedman has received 1.5 million dollars from Arnold Ventures, a philanthropy dedicated to supporting evidence-based policy research projects that catalyze solutions to inequities and injustices in America. This multi-year funding will be used to support The Captive Money Lab, a public-facing research lab cofounded by Brittany Friedman, April D. Fernandes, and Gabriela Kirk.
The mission of The Captive Money Lab is to innovate the research, policy, and advocacy concerning the political economy of punishment and the resulting impact on inequality in the United States. With Arnold Venture’s support, Friedman, Fernandes, and Kirk will conduct a cross-national comparative study of “pay-to-stay” fees and recoupment strategies, which are administrated by city, county, or state governments that charge individuals with the partial or total cost of their incarceration. The Lab is partnering with Hyperobjekt to develop a website to showcase their public-facing research deliverables, set to launch this summer.
Friedman, Fernandes, and Kirk’s flagship research on monetary sanctions has been published in The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, Sociological Forum, and the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice in the past two years. This work has been referenced in major media outlets, including The Washington Post and NPR.
The Captive Money Lab builds on Friedman’s research as an ABF Access to Justice Scholar from 2021 to 2022. During her fellowship, her interactions with practitioners, mentors, and other scholars in her Access to Justice Program cohort contributed to framing “pay-to-stay” as a solvable access to justice problem. During Friedman’s time at the ABF, The Lab garnered the support it needed to transform from a research group to a public-facing, consolidated entity with a focused purpose to inform research and transform lives in real time.
“The ABF Access to Justice Program was a career-defining experience and a catalyst for our collaborative research,” said Friedman. “We are thrilled to launch this lab, expand our research nationally, and contribute to problem solving key matters of inequality that reside at the intersection of political economy, punishment, and access to justice.”
“The launch of The Captive Money Lab, with the support of a key national funder, Arnold Ventures, is a testament to Friedman and her colleagues’ creativity and commitment to translating rigorous research into concrete action to fight poverty and promote justice,” said ABF Faculty Fellow and Director of the Access to Justice Research Initiative Rebecca Sandefur. “The ABF is grateful to have been able to support the development of this work, and proud to be associated with it.”
About the American Bar Foundation
The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is the world’s leading research institute for the empirical and interdisciplinary study of law. The ABF seeks to expand knowledge and advance justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally. The ABF’s primary funding is provided by the American Bar Endowment and the Fellows of The American Bar Foundation.