Increases in both the number and amount of court fees, fines, and surcharges—regardless of offenders' ability to pay—have become standard practice in courthouses throughout the United States. A recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice, as well as several others, have shown that imposing criminal justice debt can interfere with reentry and rehabilitation. In response to this identified problem, the Vera Institute of Justice is exploring a potential demonstration project that would help jurisdictions generate revenue and hold offenders accountable for their crimes without the unintended negative justice outcomes. The Fines and Fees Initiative seeks to ameliorate the negative consequences that criminal justice debt may have on individuals, communities, and criminal justice systems.
- © 2011 Vera Institute of Justice