The Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act clarifies that the Federal Communications Commission – an agency housed within the Executive branch of the federal government – has the legal authority to stop prison phone companies from charging exorbitant fees to incarcerated people.
This study explores how local and state governments allow corporations to generate profits from public criminal justice institutions and examines how that structure harms people forced to pay for private services.
This report examines two concerning trends: the increasing use of fines and fees to fund the criminal legal system, and functions of that system being outsourced to private companies who profit from the criminal legal system.
To assess racial disparities in police interactions with the public, researchers compiled and analyzed a dataset detailing nearly 100 million municipal and state patrol traffic stops conducted in dozens of jurisdictions across the country.
Petitioner used life insurance proceeds to purchase a Land Rover for $41,558.30. He used the vehicle to transport heroin worth a total of $385. He was arrested and his vehicle was seized. Petitioner argued that the forfeiture was excessive in violation of the Eight Amendment’s excessive fines clause.
This policy brief from the Prison Policy Initiative provides an overview of prison and jail phone call fees and makes several recommendations to reform them.
This law review article argues that fines and fees reformers’ emphasis on instituting ability-to-pay determinations without any reductions in racially discriminatory ticketing may cause more harm than good. In particular, the author articulates a concern that ability-to-pay determinations risk legitimizing the existing system of monetary sanctions and entrenching damages inflicted upon people deemed ‘able to pay.’
The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice maintains a website tracking the cost of phone calls from prisons in all U.S. states as well as the sum of kickbacks that families of incarcerated people have paid to relevant corrections agencies nationwide.
The authors’ completed model predicts that when a local government is experiencing a fiscal crisis, local police departments will increase arrests for “offenses that carry fines or the opportunity to forfeit assets.”
FFJC Co-Director Joanna Weiss participated in a Smart on Crime Innovations Conference panel about eliminating “user fees” in the justice system.