Among the most committed reformers of the system of justice is former California Judge Lisa Foster. After she left the bench, Judge Foster served as the Director of the Office for Access to Justice at the United States Department of Justice. She is now a driving force of an important initiative we all ought to be concerned about.
From Fines & Fees Justice Center (FFJC):
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Fines & Fees Justice Center (FFJC) – a national center for advocacy, information and collaboration.
FFJC is committed to ending the unjust and harmful imposition and enforcement of fines and fees in the justice system. Our mission is to create a justice system that treats individually fairly, ensures public safety and community prosperity, and is funded fully and equitably.
To accomplish these goals, FFJC is involved in state-based advocacy, piloting reform strategies to bring about comprehensive change. In New York and Florida, FFJC is working with community partners and justice system stakeholders to pursue court, legislative, and policy changes, creating demonstration sites for holistic reform. In addition, FFJC consults with other jurisdictions, individuals and organizations interested in pursuing reform, directing them to resources, partners and practices that can strengthen their work. And when we find particularly promising models for reform, we seek out jurisdictions to pilot and evaluate them.
FFJC is also creating a user-friendly national clearinghouse for information, research and best practices. The Clearinghouse – still under construction – will collect and digest all of the research, pilot projects, litigation, legislation, court rule changes, and media related to fines and fees in the United States. Our goal is to translate this information into actionable guidance and tools that can be used by policy makers, advocates, courts and community organizations interested in reform. We want to include your work in our Clearinghouse. We will likely be contacting many of you in the weeks ahead, but, please, send us any reports, descriptions of pilot programs, court rule changes, or new legislation.
Many of you know us and know that we have been working on the issues surrounding fines and fees for many years – Lisa from the United States Department of Justice and Joanna from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Together, we want to continue the work that we started – helping communities and justice system stakeholders achieve comprehensive and durable reform.
FFJC is a project of the New Venture Fund and is guided by an Advisory Board composed of nationally-recognized experts in their field.
We hope we can be of service to you as you consider fines and fees reform in your jurisdiction. FFJC has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if we can be of any assistance. Additionally, you can follow FFJC on Twitter or visit our website for news and commentary around fines and fees.
Joanna Weiss and Lisa Foster