This report is based on the authors’ research on traffic courts and driver’s license suspension practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. It details how much revenue courts collect from fines and fees, the harmful impacts those fees have on low-income Californians, and also advances several policy reform recommendations.
In late 2016, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors directed the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to create a Fines and Fees Task Force (staffed by the Treasurer’s Financial Justice Project) to study the impact of fines and fees on San Franciscans & propose relevant reforms. About six months later, the Task Force published this initial report in order to provide an overview of fines and fees in San Francisco as well as an array of reform recommendations.
The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder is an online tool that allows users to quickly explore and assess fines and fees reform statutes in all 50 states.
This review of law and policy is the first-year report of a five-year study comprising quantitative and qualitative research that provides a detailed understanding of how fines and fees are imposed and enforced across the United States.
In this article for Sociological Forum, Professors Kasey Hendricks and Daina Cheyenne Harvey examine whether Ferguson’s fines and fees practices are typical among local governments.
This report from the Berkeley Policy Advocacy Clinic details California counties’ practice of assessing and collecting fees from families with youth in the California juvenile justice system. California abolished juvenile fees in 2018.
Alexandra Bastien of PolicyLink describes how the imposition of criminal justice fines and fees disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income Americans.
Rebellious lawyering empowers those affected by the issue to come up with solutions to their own problems. It should be a collective effort between the lawyers and legal services clients and community members from grassroots organizing groups.
This joint report by Texas Appleseed and the Texas Fair Defense Project evaluates how often fine-only offenses - offenses punishable only by a fine and no jail sentence – in fact subject Texans to jail time and suspensions of driver’s licenses or the inability to renew a license or register a vehicle because of their inability to pay.
This article focuses on a potential reform with increasing bipartisan support: the graduation of economic sanctions according to a person’s financial circumstances, also known as "day fines" or "means-adjusted fines."