Before this resolution was passed by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners, the county was charging $25 per day to people detained in the Ottawa County jail. Under the new billing system, detainees will be charged a flat fee of $60 for their incarceration, regardless of how long they stay.
In Michigan, legislation that abolishes the state’s “driver responsibility fees” took effect on October 1, 2018. These fees were introduced in 2003 as a way to balance the state budget, and they have imposed a crushing burden on at least 350,000 drivers statewide.
Plaintiffs allege that the Michigan Department of State’s automatic suspension of driver’s license of persons who owe court fines and fees, regardless of their ability to pay violates due process and equal protection.
Kitia Harris, a 25 year-old with an eight year-old daughter, suffers from interstitial cystitis, a chronic medical condition that makes her unable to work. Her driver’s license was automatically suspended because she owed $276 for unpaid court fines and fees.
Defendant argued that the imposition of court fines and fees is a tax, violated the separation of powers doctrine, and failed to comply with the Distinct Statement Clause.
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.
Over the course of six months in 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court Ability to Pay workgroup examined the issue of ability to pay and published a report with tools, best practices, and recommendations for judges and court staff around nonpayment incarceration.
This seminal report examines fines and fees practices in the fifteen U.S. states with the highest prison populations, focusing on “user fees” and their impact on individuals reentering society after incarceration.