As budgets tighten, municipalities have turned to fines and fees to fill empty coffers. The result is that the rich may walk away, while the poor must pay or stay.
This thesis paper investigates who is being jailed in Rhode Island for outstanding court debt, the impact of the 2008 legislative reforms, and the effects incarceration has on people’s lives.
In this video recording of a White House Forum on Access to Justice panel, FFJC Co-Director Lisa Foster (then Director of the Office of Access to Justice at the Department of Justice) moderates a panel about how fines and fees in the criminal justice system can lead to a myriad of civil woes for low-income Americans.
This report discusses how criminal disenfranchisement laws prevent millions of people from regaining the right to vote because they cannot afford criminal legal fines and fees.
In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Office for Access to Justice sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to State Court Administrators and Chief Justices in each state clarifying the legal framework that governs the enforcement of fines and fees, including the importance of procedural protections and, in appropriate cases, the right to counsel.
This annoucement outlines a grant program that provided funding to state and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes to test ways to improve systems of criminal justice fines and fees.
This Note makes the case for considering state constitutional and statutory prohibitions on debtors’ prisons alongside Bearden v. Georgia claims in legal advocacy opposing excessive fines and fees.
In this essay, Marsh and Gerrick challenge the most common justification for why debtors’ prisons still exist in present-day America: generating revenue to fund local government and courts. The authors argue that revenue generation is an “incomplete explanation” for debtor’s prisons and point to a variety of other factors that could help complete the picture.
This report documents how and when youth and families face fines, fees and restitution and the economic and legal consequences for failure to pay.
The article provides an overview of criminal justice fines and fees; applies the Sixth Amendment jury trial right to these fines and fees; considers the question of “when criminal justice debt rises to the level of punishment; and suggests several solutions to the problem.