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(Color)blind Reform: How ability-to-pay determinations are inadequate to transform a racialized system of penal debt

This law review article argues that fines and fees reformers’ emphasis on instituting ability-to-pay determinations without any reductions in racially discriminatory ticketing may cause more harm than good. In particular, the author articulates a concern that ability-to-pay determinations risk legitimizing the existing system of monetary sanctions and entrenching damages inflicted upon people deemed ‘able to pay.’

Stopping the Debt Spiral

This report shares the results of a survey of 304 low-income Illinois residents who were asked about their experience with debt, including criminal justice debt. Respondents disclosed the types of debt they had, the number of debts they owed, and the emotional toll debt takes on their families.

Why journalists should cover local jails

In this article for The Poynter Institute, Al Tompkins underscores the importance of journalists covering local jails and suggests several coverage angles that journalists can use to convince readers to care more about incarceration at the local level.

Resolution Addressing Fines, Fees, and Costs in Juvenile Courts [Resolution and Bench Card]

The National Council of Juvenile Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) passed a resolution advocating for the reduction or elimination of fines and fees in juvenile courts. The resolution was published alongside a judicial bench card that outlines types of financial obligations that youth and families may encounter in juvenile and family court, details the impacts of those obligations, and explains how judges can address fines and fees in their own courtrooms. The bench card includes several practice recommendations for juvenile and family court judges.
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