In New York City, fines and fees provide the city with more than $2 billion in revenue each year. However, many of these fines and fees fall on lower income New Yorkers of color and can destabilize those without the means to pay. Since 2016, San Francisco’s Financial Justice Project has eliminated dozens of fines and fees, waived $32 million in criminal justice debt and cleared 88,000 holds on driver’s licenses. The authors suggest launching a similar project in New York City can bring similar financial relief to low income New Yorkers of color and urge city leaders to look to San Francisco for inspiration to eliminate those fines and fees with the most harmful impact. This article outlines the origins of San Francisco’s Financial Justice Project and challenges to achieving reform in New York.
Read the full text here.