This study assesses the use of fines and fees for misdemeanor crimes in Nevada and Iowa to highlight the perverse incentives embedded in the practice of using courts as revenue centers. The article proposes the concept of “monetary myopia,” or a short-sighted focus on revenue at the expense of other concerns, to explain the states’ behavior.
In 2017, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Financial Justice Project, and Mayor’s Office of Budget and Public Policy studied the collateral consequences of criminal justice administrative fees on San Franciscans. Their findings were published in this report, which also coincides with 2018 San Francisco County legislation that abolished all discretionary fees imposed by the county.
In this report, the Chicago Jobs Council describes how suspending a person’s driver’s license for unpaid fines and fees can prevent them from ever paying off their debt and destabilize their finances.
This report analyzes the first nine months of the Phoenix Municipal Court’s driver’s license reinstatement pilot - the Compliance Assistance Program (CAP) - and calculates the economic impacts of both the suspension and reinstatement of driver’s licenses on individuals and the Phoenix community, including wages and GDP.
In late 2016, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors directed the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to create a Fines and Fees Task Force (staffed by the Treasurer’s Financial Justice Project) to study the impact of fines and fees on San Franciscans & propose relevant reforms. About six months later, the Task Force published this initial report in order to provide an overview of fines and fees in San Francisco as well as an array of reform recommendations.
Alexandra Bastien of PolicyLink describes how the imposition of criminal justice fines and fees disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income Americans.
This article focuses on a potential reform with increasing bipartisan support: the graduation of economic sanctions according to a person’s financial circumstances, also known as "day fines" or "means-adjusted fines."
This report documents the amount New Orleans residents pay in bail, fines and fees, traces where the money goes, and calculates how much the city spends to jail people who cannot pay.
At the time this report was written, by California law, counties were authorized to recoup the costs of their juvenile justice systems by charging administrative fees to juvenile defendants and their families. This policy report takes a close look at Alameda County’s system of administrative 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.