This report shares the results of a survey of 304 low-income Illinois residents who were asked about their experience with debt, including criminal justice debt. Respondents disclosed the types of debt they had, the number of debts they owed, and the emotional toll debt takes on their families.
In Chicago, Alderman Gilbert Villegas has introduced legislation that would reduce the burden of traffic fines and fees for low-income Chicago residents by providing alternatives to fines and fees and improving access to payment plans.
This SoundCloud recording made available by the Chicago Jobs Council takes an in-depth look into how parking tickets from 1999 cost 37-year old LaSheria Murphy her driver’s license, peace of mind, livelihood, and dignity.
Filing for bankruptcy to avoid car impoundments and or a boot that immobilizes their vehicle has become a popular “remedy” for Chicago drivers who can’t afford to pay off debt from traffic tickets, parking violations, and vehicle compliance infractions.
The “License to Work Act” identifies the scope and limitations of each government office’s suspension/revocation power, the reasons for which a driver’s privileges could be restricted, and which conditions allow a person to have their license restored.
In this report, the Chicago Jobs Council describes how suspending a person’s driver’s license for unpaid fines and fees can prevent them from ever paying off their debt and destabilize their finances.
Broadly speaking, the Act streamlines, standardizes, and reduces court fees in order to facilitate a sliding scale fee waiver for defendants who cannot afford to pay. (Without these changes, the sliding scale would have been severely limited.)
This bill provides that a court cannot deny a petition to seal or expunge a criminal record simply because the individual has not satisfied outstanding court debt, and waives certain fees that apply to expungement applications.
This report is a culmination of a year of research that involved interviews conducted with 380 people who made contact with systems of justice in eight states and were assessed fines and fees.
"The court fines for Virginia were $611 as well as a $150 driver's license reinstatement fee to the Virginia DMV. Once my case was transferred to Illinois, where I live, I was charged by my home county another $600 for probation services fees. In total, court fees cost me $1361."