This Guide for Policy Reform by Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program is organized into four issue areas: conflicts of interest, poverty penalties and poverty traps (when people are forced to pay more or face harsher sanctions because of their poverty), the ability-to-pay determination, and transparency and accountability. Under each of these sections, a description of the problem is followed by legislative, judicial, and executive reform suggestions for people at the state level to use and incorporate into their efforts.
This guide aims to inform litigators about various strategies to defend and gain relief for individual clients burdened by criminal justice debt. It also serves to foster communication and understanding among stakeholders who work in this particular area of the justice system.
This study uses US Census data and Uniform Crime Reporting data to assess whether law enforcement participation in revenue collection affects police departments’ ability to solve violent crime.
This report discusses how criminal disenfranchisement laws prevent millions of people from regaining the right to vote because they cannot afford criminal legal fines and fees.
At the time this report was written, by California law, counties were authorized to recoup the costs of their juvenile justice systems by charging administrative fees to juvenile defendants and their families. This policy report takes a close look at Alameda County’s system of administrative fees.
In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Office for Access to Justice sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to State Court Administrators and Chief Justices in each state clarifying the legal framework that governs the enforcement of fines and fees, including the importance of procedural protections and, in appropriate cases, the right to counsel.
This report documents how and when youth and families face fines, fees and restitution and the economic and legal consequences for failure to pay.
This brief provides background information on criminal justice system fines, fees, and bail and argues that these costs disproportionately impact poor people.
This report is the result of a collaborative research project from 20 community-based organizations that studied the costs of incarceration on families across 14 states.
In this policy brief, L.B. Eisen explains how imposing fees upon incarcerated people perpetuates mass incarceration. The brief outlines describes contemporary fee practices, explores the history of those fees, analyzes their constitutionality, and makes several policy recommendations to mitigate collateral consequences.