The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder is an online tool that allows users to quickly explore and assess fines and fees reform statutes in all 50 states.
Alexandra Bastien of PolicyLink describes how the imposition of criminal justice fines and fees disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income Americans.
This joint report by Texas Appleseed and the Texas Fair Defense Project evaluates how often fine-only offenses - offenses punishable only by a fine and no jail sentence – in fact subject Texans to jail time and suspensions of driver’s licenses or the inability to renew a license or register a vehicle because of their inability to pay.
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.
In this five-part research paper, Professors from Saint Louis University’s School of Law examine the “economic impact of discriminatory municipal law enforcement” in St. Louis County, Missouri.
This study found that cities with larger black populations are more likely to use fines to generate revenue, but black legislators reverse that pattern.
This Guide for Policy Reform by Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program is organized into four issue areas: conflicts of interest, poverty penalties and poverty traps (when people are forced to pay more or face harsher sanctions because of their poverty), the ability-to-pay determination, and transparency and accountability. Under each of these sections, a description of the problem is followed by legislative, judicial, and executive reform suggestions for people at the state level to use and incorporate into their efforts.
This study uses US Census data and Uniform Crime Reporting data to assess whether law enforcement participation in revenue collection affects police departments’ ability to solve violent crime.
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.