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Proportionate Financial Sanctions: Policy Prescriptions for Judicial Reform

In this report, the Criminal Justice Policy Program (CJPP) at Harvard Law School proposes a framework where courts would impose means-adjusted fines as a proportionate sentence for an offense. The authors assert that by adopting the proposed recommendations, courts can ease or prevent the worst harms that excessive financial sanctions create for poor people without waiting for legislative reforms.

Personal Narrative: Nichole Norris

Nichole Norris, a rural California resident, received four tickets during a single traffic stop, costing her $4000. When she could not afford to pay this total amount, her license was suspended. This court debt was such a burden that it prevented her from paying her electric bill, causing her utilities to be shut off and her landlord to evict her.

Personal Narrative: Matthew Holland

Matthew Holland is a 32 year old African-American male living in Spring Hill, FL. His license has been suspended for seven years due to unpaid criminal court debt that he owes dating back to convictions as an 18-year-old in 2006.
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