News About Fines & Fees

For USA TODAY, FFJC’s Lisa Foster and Fair and Just Prosecution’s Miriam Krinsky argue that prosecutors can improve criminal justice fairness and eliminate perverse incentives by changing their fines and fees practices and advocating for policy changes. “Fines and fees are regressive & disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, serving mainly to perpetuate cycles of debt & incarceration. This framework diverts law enforcement resources from the job of solving serious crime and uses scarce resources to collect revenue.”

In The New York Times Magazine, Matthew Shaer investigates fines and fees practices across America, consulting FFJC Co-Director Joanna Weiss among many others: “Cities use the justice system to wring revenue out of the poorest Americans — the people who can afford it the least. Criminal-justice debt is now a de facto way of funding a lot of American cities.” This lengthy piece is well worth your time.

For the New York Daily News, Errol Louis argues that New York should stop suspending driver’s licenses to coerce payment of fines and fees, noting that FFJC has launched a campaign in New York to do just that. FFJC is working in partnership with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and the Bronx Defenders to end driver’s license suspensions that are driven by poverty.

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