The California Conference of State Court Administrators recently released a policy paper focused on policy and practice recommendations that courts can adopt to mitigate the negative impact of legal financial obligations on people who are unable to pay.
The paper covers the growth of the system of monetary sanctions and the associated collateral consequences, namely, incarceration. It also discusses the impact of relying on revenue from legal financial obligations to fund the court system and using private collection agencies.
The Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia public interest law firm for children and teens, released a report on Thursday on the issue of monetary sanctions in the juvenile justice system. It provides an overview of the problem, information on eight types of fines and fees, and potential ramifications for youth and their families.
The Atlantic published an article, The Fines and Fees That Keep Former Prisoners Poor, which covers key highlights from Alexes Harris’s book, A Pound of Flesh.
The federal Department of Justice sent a letter to state court systems stating that judges should consider alternatives to jail for poor defendants who do not have the ability to pay. It also states that judges should establish that failure to pay was willful before putting defendants in jail.