After Michael Brown was shot by a member of the Ferguson Police Department, the Department of Justice’s investigation uncovered a pattern of racially discriminatory practices by the Ferguson Police Department which were primarily rooted in the city’s dependence on the criminal justice system to raise revenue. The publication of the Ferguson report is widely viewed as the start of the movement to reform fines and fees in the U.S.
Stearns examines the imposition and enforcement of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) in Washington State on people unable to pay them and argues that the resulting disparities impact the ability of the criminal justice system to impose fair and meaningful penalties that hold people accountable and reduce recidivism.
This guide by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators discusses how suspending driver’s licenses for non-safety related reasons is ineffective and counter-productive: it diminishes the deterrent effect and perceived legitimacy of license suspension, as well as the efficacy of law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and motor vehicle agencies.
This seminal report examines fines and fees practices in the fifteen U.S. states with the highest prison populations, focusing on “user fees” and their impact on individuals reentering society after incarceration.
This report examines the impact of the Florida Legislature’s decision to levy “user fees” on people accused and convicted of traffic violations, misdemeanors and felonies without providing exemptions for the indigent.
This report relays findings from a study about the effects of driver’s license suspensions in New Jersey. For years, license suspensions have been imposed on motorists for reasons unrelated to public safety (i.e. to enforce payment of fines and fees), and this research suggests that residents of urban and low-income neighborhoods are more vulnerable to suspension than others.
In Bearden v. Georgia, the Supreme Court held that courts may only revoke probation and/or sentence the defendant to imprisonment if the defendant willfully refused to pay.