Amanda Aronczyk at BBC News: The ex-offenders left with huge court debts

In many American states, ex-offenders leave prison owing fees and fines to the court - possibly $50 (£31) for police transport, or $35 (£22) to a victims’ fund, or $100 (£62) for some unspecified administrative fee.

But in Philadelphia, you can also owe money for missing court dates before your imprisonment - and these sums run into thousands of dollars.

Those fines ratchet up the bill quickly, with some people who thought they’d paid for their criminal past discovering that they now owe tens of thousands of dollars.