In California, the newly-formed Debt Free Justice California coalition achieved its first big win: Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors voted to abolish all of the county’s criminal justice fees, including fees for probation, public defenders, and the sheriff’s work alternative program. This does not eliminate fees imposed by the state of California, but discretionary (local) fees are still significant; as a recent report from the East Bay Community Law Center notes, the average adult on probation in Alameda County could be assessed over $6,000 in probation fees alone.
In early December, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia announced the creation of the Chicago Fines, Fees, & Access Collaborative, composed of Chicago City departments, elected officials, community organizations, and academic and advocacy organizations – including FFJC. The Collaborative will review fines, fees, & collections practices and will advance recommendations for reform, following the model of San Francisco’s Financial Justice Project. You can read more via ProPublica.