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Ann Arbor, MI – Washtenaw County has been selected to participate in the second cohort of the Cities and Counties for Fines and Fee Justice (CCFFJ) cohort. The opportunity provides technical assistance, personalized strategic guidance and resources to municipalities committed to reforming the way they assess and collect fines and fees related to the justice system. The CCFFJ is led by the Fines and Fees Justice Center and the City and County of San Francisco’s Financial Justice Project.
“Our county’s commitment to equity extends farther than just the services we offer to residents,” says County Administrator Gregory Dill, “farther than the way we run our organization, internally. Our commitment includes working together to look at and rectify the ways that our justice system causes harm. We can and will keep our budget whole while helping families avoid the cycles of poverty associated with contact with our justice system.”
Led by the Racial Equity Office, the Washtenaw County team represents a unique collaboration between Administration, Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Public Defender, Treasurer’s Office and Trial Court. The cohort will focus on eliminating non-statutory fines and fees related to incarceration and the local judicial process. They will collect and analyze budget data, develop strategies and messaging related to eliminating fines and fees. The cohort includes a modest grant to be awarded to local organizations who are working directly with individuals who have been impacted by the justice system.
“Many of our departments and elected offices are already doing this work.”, shares Alize Asberry Payne, Racial Equity Officer, “The cohort offers us the unique opportunity to deepen the impact of those efforts. Reducing the impact of fines and fees is aligned with the County’s overall equity strategy. It’s transformational change of a system that has negatively and disproportionately impacted poor people, Black people and People of Color.”
Other governments participating in the cohort include Chatham County, Georgia, Jefferson County, Alabama, Miami-Dade County, Florida, the City of Wilmington, Delaware and Wyandotte County/ City of Kansas City, Kansas.
Learn more about Cities and Counties for Fine and Fee Justice.