For the first time, the Federal Reserve collected information about how criminal legal debt from fines and fees affects American families.
This Alabama Appleseed report stems from a survey of 1,011 justice-involved Alabamians. The author provides recommendations for lawmakers, programs, and courts to follow to improve the effectiveness and fairness of diversion.
This report presents the findings from an Arkansas Community Institute survey concerning the household debt of Pulaski and Jefferson county residents.
Driving on Empty shows how driver’s license suspension for nonpayment in Florida detracts from public safety, and outlines the racial and economic disparities perpetuated by this practice.
This report shares the life experiences of Los Angeles County residents to illustrate how criminal justice fines and fees assessed by the County can be overly burdensome and punitive.
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.
Andria Collins is a mother raising eight children in Oklahoma City, OK. She has been struggling with court debt and drivers’ license suspensions for over a decade.
The Vera Institute’s “Paid in Full” report outlines a path towards fines and fees reform, summarizing relevant reform litigation and detailing specific steps that the city of New Orleans can take to reduce the harms of pre-trial and conviction fees.
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.
Rick Venable is currently homeless and sleeping in the woods in Jacksonville as a result of a spiral that started with driver's license suspension.