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Tuesday, May 3, 2022


Liman Students Document Impact of Connecticut’s Incarceration Lien

a still showing pamphlets

A still from a new short film documenting the experiences of those impacted by Connecticut’s incarceration lien law.

Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law Student Director Mila Reed-Guevara ’23 and Ryanne Bamieh ’23 worked with Yale Divinity School student Claire Barnes ’22 to create a short film documenting the experiences of those impacted by Connecticut’s incarceration lien law.

Since 2021, students in the Liman Center’s “pay-to-stay” project have researched debt associated with incarceration and Connecticut’s practice of imposing a lien to collect that debt. In Connecticut, the cost of incarceration amounts to $229 per day, or over $90,000 per year, one of the highest in the nation, according to Liman Center Director Jenny Carroll. The state relies on the incarceration lien to collect that debt from each individual, leaving incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their communities vulnerable in a variety of ways, she said.

During the past year, under the guidance of Carroll, students have interviewed individuals affected by this debt and are working with a community coalition to repeal Connecticut’s incarceration lien provisions.

The lien is contrary to Connecticut’s larger goals of successful re-entry after incarceration,” Reed-Guevara, Bamieh, and Carroll wrote in a recent commentary in The Connecticut Mirror. “Saddled with debt, those leaving prison are forced to use funds that might allow them to access housing, education, and employment to pay off their incarceration lien.”

The film was produced in collaboration with Family ReEntry, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and with funding from Yale Law School’s Visual Law Project.