We’re excited to announce that six jurisdictions have joined as new members of Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice (CCFFJ), a leadership network pursuing innovative local solutions to reform fines and fees. The Financial Justice Project co-leads this network with the Fines and Fees Justice Center and Results for America. The participating cities and counties are:
Chatham County, Georgia
Jefferson County, Alabama
Miami-Dade County, Florida
Washtenaw County, Michigan
City of Wilmington, Delaware
Wyandotte County/City of Kansas City, Kansas
The participating jurisdictions will receive customized technical and strategic assistance, including access to policy, research, communications, and data expertise on fines and fees policies. Each jurisdiction has committed to working directly with impacted community members to enact specific reforms, and they will each receive a small grant to help them achieve their goals.
“In San Francisco, we’ve learned through our reforms that we can hold people accountable without putting them in financial distress. We can balance our budgets in common sense ways that are not on the backs of the least fortunate people in our communities.”
- San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros
The new jurisdictions will pursue reforms that include eliminating criminal administrative fees—the surcharges, penalties, and interest that drive up debt and make even a traffic ticket unaffordable for people living paycheck-to-paycheck. They will also address the high costs of incarceration, such as the exorbitant fees for phone calls, medical care, and commissary purchases, paid by people who are incarcerated and their families. Teams will also work toward right-sizing fines that exceed people’s ability to pay, such as ticketing, towing, and booting.
“Policymakers from across the political spectrum are increasingly realizing that fines and fees reforms are a win-win situation both for struggling families and for their jurisdiction’s bottom line.”
- Priya Sarathy Jones, Fines and Fees Justice Center
The members of CCFFJ’s first cohort enacted reforms to eliminate municipal fees, forgive outstanding debt, end debt-based driver’s license suspensions, implement restitution funds, eliminate the costs of phone calls and dramatically lower the cost of commissary items in jails, and provide fine and fee waivers and reductions for people with low incomes. Learn more about the first year of CCFFJ here.
We are excited to support these six jurisdictions to advance fine and fee reform, and advance financial justice across the country.