I was watching this video and faced a problem: I don't know how to understand the phrase "to line city coffers"? I've faced that phrase at the end of the following long sentence:

"The problem's actually a bit worse than this 'cause we're not just sending poor kids to prison, we're saddling poor kids with court fees, with probation and parole restrictions, with low-level warrants, we're asking them to live in halfway houses and on house arrest, and we're asking them to negotiate a police force that is entering poor communities of color, not for the purposes of promoting public safety, but to make arrest counts, to line city coffers."


1 Answer 1


A coffer is a box for money. Lining refers to (I think) to the "inner layer of fabric, fur, or other material inserted into clothing, hats, luggage, curtains, handbags and similar items."

This is a metaphor that says the city is imposing fees on the people not to enforce the law, but to make money (i.e. figuratively "make an inner layer of dollar bills for their money strongbox").

  • 2
    One of the meanings of the verb to line is "to fill". We have an expression for bribery -- "to line someone's palm with silver"
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 16:29
  • @TRomano your comment is as useful as the answer
    – Schullz
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 12:44

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