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 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.
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.
In this report, the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force investigated Oklahoma’s exploding incarceration rates and the judicial policies that contribute to prison overcrowding. The Task Force used their analysis to develop 27 policy recommendations aimed at improving public safety by reducing recidivism and reforming sentencing policies.
This bench card, which can be modified for state and local jurisdictions, advises judges on how to sanction indigent defendants for nonpayment of fines and fees without resorting to incarceration, outlines procedural protections for defendants who are unable to pay, and outlines standards for determining indigence.
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."
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Office for Access to Justice issued a formal advisory to recipients of DOJ funds about the enforcement of fines and fees in juvenile courts.
This bench card was created as part of a 2016 settlement agreement in Kennedy v. Biloxi, an ACLU lawsuit against the city of Biloxi, Mississippi, where defendants could avoid incarceration only if they paid their fines and fees immediately, in full, with cash.
This report is the first publication in a three-part series entitled “Confronting Criminal Justice Debt: A Comprehensive Project for Reform.” It provides an overview of the many types of fines and fees that the criminal justice system imposes and the collateral consequences that can result from them, with a particular emphasis on racial and economic disparities.
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.