Skip navigation

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees, U.S. Department of Justice, 2015

Download original document:
Brief thumbnail
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
RESOURCE GUIDE:
REFORMING THE
ASSESSMENT AND
ENFORCEMENT OF
FINES AND FEES

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Overview .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
1. Backgrounders. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4
2. Case Studies. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
3. Issue Studies.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 11
4. Reform Guidance. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13
5. Reform Tools. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14

U.S. Department of Justice Disclaimer. This project was supported by Contract No GS-23F-9755H awarded by the Office of
Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to Booz Allen Hamilton, and its partners: the Institute for Intergovernmental
Research and CNA. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the
official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

OVERVIEW
Justice system reform has captured the attention of the American public. While the discussion generally has focused
on sentencing policies, police accountability, and reentry, recent efforts by state court judges, court administrators, and
advocates have brought attention to a less-examined but equally significant issue: the harmful effects of assessing and
enforcing fines and fees in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner. Most of these fines and fees are imposed for minor
matters such as traffic infractions or municipal code violations, and many are imposed by the over 6,500 municipal or
local courts in the United States.

2

Justice systems – traditionally funded primarily from a jurisdiction’s general tax revenues – have come to rely
increasingly on funds generated from the collection of fines and fees, or “legal financial obligations” (LFOs). In some
places, justice systems have been transformed into revenue centers that pay for even a jurisdiction’s non-justicerelated government operations. The U.S. Department of Justice addressed an example in a report of its investigation
into the practices of the Ferguson, Missouri police department and municipal courts. Ferguson is not unique; similar
problems exist throughout the country.
The effect of LFOs on individuals, their families, and our communities can be devastating. In isolation, an individual
fine or fee may appear insignificant, but for many people, paying a fine that, together with associated fees and
assessments, can easily exceed several hundred dollars can be challenging. And the obligations can easily and
rapidly add up. For example, a person ticketed for a municipal violation who cannot afford to pay the original fine
can be charged late payment fees and compounding interest and be subjected to further consequences such as wage
garnishment or driver’s license revocation. The accumulation of obligations can result in hundreds, if not thousands,
of dollars of debt. Moreover, some local and state courts across the United States also employ LFO collection practices
that are not only unwise and harmful, but also unconstitutional. In certain jurisdictions, courts have routinely
incarcerated individuals for nonpayment of fines they simply cannot
afford, even though the Constitution prohibits it. Because of these
In so many instances an
practices, even individuals charged with non-criminal minor violations
individual’s access to justice
can suffer significant and prolonged harm if they have limited financial
has become predicated on
means.
their ability to literally pay

for it. What is the price of

For an individual charged with a criminal offense, the assortment of
justice?”
fees assessed by the justice system can be especially daunting. These
include costs associated with pretrial detention, the assignment of a
– Attorney General Loretta
public defender, general court administration, and electronic monitoring,
Lynch, Dec. 3, 2015
to name a few. For those convicted of a crime, the debt accrued by the
assessments of LFOs can be a substantial barrier to successful reentry back
into their communities following the completion of their sentence. These harms are most frequently felt by the most
vulnerable members of our communities – not just those who are justice-involved, but their families and children, too
– as they become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape.
Last year, the Justice Department took a significant step to call attention to and help resolve these issues. On
December 2, 2015, the Department convened a working session called, “Poverty and the Justice System: The Effect
and Fairness of Fees and Fines.” On December 3, the White House sponsored a companion event – “A Cycle of
Incarceration: Prison, Debt, and Bail Practices” – to bring public attention to the connection between poverty and
the criminal justice system and to highlight state reform efforts. These convenings brought together judges, court
administrators, academics, prosecutors, legislators, advocates, and other justice system actors and national experts to
examine the practice of assessing and enforcing LFOs, the effects on individuals and communities, and examples of
how jurisdictions are addressing these issues. Participants shared many promising reforms, including the following:
•	

The Ohio Supreme Court’s bench card instructing judges on constitutional and state law requirements and
alternatives to jail for those unable to pay LFOs;

•	

Georgia’s statute implementing certain reforms to the use of private probation in the state;

•	

A Washington scholar’s in-depth study of the state’s statutory framework for fines and fees and counties’ practices;

•	

Vermont’s prosecutor-led driver’s license restoration day, providing individuals with suspended licenses due to
failure to pay traffic fines an opportunity to satisfy delinquent debts by paying $25 for each ticket;

Colorado’s law requiring that, before incarcerating someone for willful nonpayment, judges must make a finding on
the record that payment would pose no undue hardship to the individual or his or her family and that the person
made no good faith effort to pay; and

•	

Michigan’s Ability to Pay Workgroup, which produced a report including legal guidance, tools, and best practices
to assist judges and court staff with determining an obligor’s ability to pay, establishing payment plans, providing
payment alternatives, enforcing court-ordered financial obligations, and identifying uncollectible debts.

The participants of the working sessions suggested many other crucial reforms – transparency and accountability of
courts’ collection and disbursement of fines and fees; guidance on relevant constitutional law; development of model
statutes and rules for the assessment and enforcement of fines and fees; research on impacts of promising practices; best
practice standards for indigency determinations; case studies of successful alternatives; and improved data collection,
coordination, and technology, to name a few. While much remains to be done, the examples listed above are worthy of
examination. As one working session participant observed, “Nothing less than the public’s faith and confidence in the
justice system depends on” our collective efforts to make the assessment and enforcement of LFOs more fair, equitable,
and just.
To build on the December working sessions, the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center is
providing this guide, which identifies resources and related publications to address issues related to fines, fees and other
financial obligations. The resources identified by the Diagnostic Center are intended to be a starting point for executivelevel decision makers to explore how science and data can be used to inform policy decisions and support the creation of
strategies at the state, local and tribal levels.
The resources included in this Guide are organized into four key areas: 1) Backgrounders 2) Case Studies, 3) Issue Studies,
4) Reform Guidance and 5) Reform Tools. Table 1 below defines each of the categories.

Resource Type

Description

Backgrounders

High level publications that provide broad insight into the nature and effects of an issue or range
of issues, often including high level policy or reform recommendations. These documents provide
valuable information to a wide audience, including policy makers, law enforcement, pretrial
agencies, courts and probation and parole agencies.

Case Studies

Studies that provide a comprehensive look at the dynamics of challenges and reform efforts
undergone by local and state governments with regard to fines, fees and/or bail. These documents
provide the most value to policy makers, pretrial agencies and courts.

Issue Studies

Primarily academic studies that examine a particular issue in depth and often apply quantitative
social science methods to test a hypothesis. These documents generally provide the most value to
policy makers and courts.

Reform Guidance

These documents provide guidance in the change process or method for developing new policies/
procedures.

Reform Tools

These documents present example tools used in previous reform efforts. These
documents generally provide the most value to policy makers, pretrial agencies and
courts.

3

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

•	

1. BACKGROUNDERS
Backgrounders
1. A Cycle of Incarceration: Prison, Debt, and Bail Practices: Edited
Source: The White House
Year: 2015

4

This video covers the morning session of the December 3, 2015 White House convening, including opening remarks
from the White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, and a panel discussion of
fines, fees and debt, moderated by Emily Bazelon, and featuring Cynthia Jones, Michael B. Jordan, and David Simon.

2. A Cycle of Incarceration: Prison, Debt, and Bail Practices: Full Day
Source: The White House
Year: 2015
This video covers the full day of the December 3, 2015 White House convening on prison, debt and bail practices.

3. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at White House Convening on
Incarceration and Poverty, Washington, DC,. United States, Thursday, December 3, 2015
Source: The Department of Justice
Year: 2015
Attorney General Lynch engages in a high level discussion of the issues of fines and fees, poverty, and justice; some of
the Department of Justice efforts to address these issues; and a call to reorient the conceptualization of justice away
from a commodity that can be quantified and towards an inherent right.

4. Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Using Money for Bail
Source: Justice Policy Institute
Year: 2012
This report addresses trends in bail use, effects of bail on the judicial process and communities and effective
alternatives to bail.

5. Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Authors: Michael Mitchell and Michael Leachman
Year: 2014
This report examines high incarceration rates and state prisons, related fiscal and policy issues, and state funding for
education, and provides recommendations for policy reform to shift funding from incarceration to education.

6. Charging the Poor: Criminal Justice Debt & Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons
Source: Maryland Law Review (forthcoming)
Author: Neil L. Sobol
Year: 2015
This document compares the modern conditions and practices of criminal justice debt collection and enforcement to
debtors’ prisons and provides a framework for reducing incarceration of the indigent.

Backgrounders
7. Courts are not Revenue Centers
Source: Conference of State Court Administrators
Authors: Carl Reynolds and Jeff Hall
Year: 2012
This publication outlines relevant case law for filing fees and criminal court costs, provides principles to guide the
development of revenue vehicles in the court system, and makes recommendations for reforming state revenue
structures.

5

8. Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Reentry
Source: Brennan Center for Justice
Authors: Alicia Bannon, Mitali Nagrecha and Rebekah Diller
This report describes the growth and causes of criminal justice debt, its effects on incarceration, reentry, and the roles
of courts and correctional agencies, and policy recommendations for addressing the costs of criminal justice debt.

9. Evidence-Based Pretrial Release
Source: Conference of State Court Administrators
Author: Arthur W. Pepin
Year: 2013
This policy paper provides an overview of the pretrial release system and advocates for the adoption of evidence-based
risk assessment in setting pretrial release conditions.

10. Fundamentals of Bail: A Resource Guide for Pretrial Practitioners and a Framework for
American Pretrial Reform
Source: National Institute of Corrections
Author: Timothy R. Schnacke
Year: 2014
This document provides a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the status of bail and pretrial justice in the United
States, including the history, legal foundations and principles and standards for bail and pretrial justice. It also presents
a case for the necessity of pretrial justice reform, and lays out guidelines for reform of the pretrial justice system.

11. Money as a Criminal Justice Stakeholder: The Judge’s Decision to Release or Detain a
Defendant Pretrial
Source: National Institute of Corrections
Author: Timothy R. Schnacke
Year: 2014
This report provides information on the history of law and pretrial decision making, describes the current state of
pretrial decision making, and suggests approaches to improve judicial pretrial decision making.

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

Year: 2010

Backgrounders
12. National Symposium on Pretrial Justice: Summary Report of Proceedings
Source: The Pretrial Justice Institute and The Bureau for Justice Assistance
Year: 2011
This report covers the proceedings of the National Symposium on Pretrial Justice, presenting the perspectives of
speakers and panels at the Symposium on issues including bail reform since 1964, the current status of pretrial justice,
evidence-based reform, and local level successes.

6

13. On Cash and Conviction: Monetary Sanctions as Misguided Policy
Source: Criminology & Public Policy
Author: Katherine Beckett and Alexes Harris
Year: 2011
This essay summarizes research on fines and fees in the United States criminal justice system and compares them to day
fines used in Europe. It contends that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages in the U.S. system.

14. Penalizing Poverty: Making Criminal Defendants Pay for their Court-Appointed Counsel
Through Recoupment and Contribution
Author: Helen A. Anderson
Year: 2008
In this document, the author discusses the disadvantages of recoupment, the process of requiring defendants to repay
the cost of their court appointed attorney, and argues that the practice should end.

15. Profiting from Probation: America’s ‘Offender Funded’ Probation Industry
Source: Human Rights Watch
Author: Chris Albin-Lackey
Year: 2014
This report discusses hardships faced by probationers in “offender funded” probation programs, where companies
collect fees from probationers to fund the probation services the companies provide, and makes a case for greater
transparency and oversight by the government.

16. Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Jails: Recommendations for Local Practice
Source: Brennan Center for Justice
Authors: Jessica Eaglin and Danyelle Solomon
Year: 2015
This report looks at the composition of the jail population at factors that contribute to incarceration, including pretrial
detention and criminal justice debt, among others. It also suggests a number of approaches to decrease incarceration
and racial disparities.

17. Report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisors on Fees, Fines, and Bail
Source: The President’s Council of Economic Advisors
Year: 2015
This report describes how fines, fees, and bail in the criminal justice system disproportionately impact the poor, leading
to concerns about fairness in the criminal justice system.

Backgrounders
18. Sentenced to a Life of Criminal Debt: A Barrier to Reentry and Climbing out of Poverty
Source: Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy
Author: Rebecca Vallas and Roopal Patel
Year: 2012
This document discusses the motivations behind fines and fees, their disadvantages, and highlights several efforts
underway to improve upon the system at the state level as models of reform.

19. The Debt Penalty – Exposing the Financial Barriers to Offender Reintegration

7

Source: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Author: Douglas N. Evans
Year: 2014

20. The Pretrial Detention ‘Crisis’: The Causes and the Cure
Source: Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law
Author: Douglas J. Klein
Year: 1997
This document assesses the shortcomings of bail, pretrial services, and pretrial detention practices, and discusses a set
of solutions to address these shortcomings.

21. The Risk Assessment Era: An Overdue Debate, Guest Editor’s Observations
Source: Federal Sentencing Reporter
Author: Sonja B. Starr
Year: 2015
This brief essay makes a case for the institution of a standardized risk assessment to assist judges in making pretrial
release, bail, and detention decisions.

2. CASE STUDIES
C ASE ST UDIES
1. A ‘New Norm’ for Pretrial Justice in the Commonwealth of Virginia: Pretrial Risk-Based
Decision Making
Source: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
Author: Kenneth Rose
Year: 2013
This document presents information about The Commonwealth of Virginia’s implementation of the Virginia Pretrial
Risk Assessment Instrument and some of the institutional barriers to its successful employment. It also makes
recommendations for the improvement of pretrial justice and effective use of the Instrument.

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

This report examines the causes and effects of criminal debt, in particular how fines and fees often fail to raise revenues
for legal systems while negatively affecting the reentry process for formerly incarcerated individuals, and suggests
approaches to improve on the application and collection of fees.

C A SE ST UDIES
2. A Decade of Bail Research in New York City
Source: New York City Criminal Justice Agency, Inc.
Project Director: Mary T. Phillips
Year: 2012

8

This report summarizes the findings of a decade-long research project studying bail policy and practices in New
York City. It tracks changes to the bail system, analyzes strengths and weaknesses of pretrial justice policy and its
implementation, and makes recommendations for further reform.

3. Alternatives to Pretrial Detention: Southern District of Iowa
Source: Luminosity, Inc.
Author: Marie VanNostrand
Year: 2010
This report outlines the Southern District of Iowa’s strategies to reduce pretrial detention rates while assuring court
appearance and community safety and contains a third-party assessment of the effectiveness of the District’s strategy.

4. Baltimore Behind Bars: How to Reduce the Jail Population, Save Money and Improve Public
Safety
Source: Justice Policy Institute
Author: Nastassia Walsh
Year: 2010
This report provides an in-depth look at the functioning of the Baltimore pretrial, court, and prison system and
provides recommendations for reducing jail populations, including reforming pretrial and bail practices.

5. Court Debt and Related Incarceration in Rhode Island from 2005 through 2007
Source: Rhode Island Family Life Center
Year: 2008
This report describes factors relevant to court debt in Rhode Island, which has relatively high levels of detention due
to court debt, and analyzes the relationship between court debt, pretrial detention, and overall incarceration rates in
Rhode Island.

6. Day Fines in American Courts: The Staten Island and Milwaukee Experiments
Source: National Institute of Justice
Authors: Douglas C McDonald, Judith Greene and Charles Worzella
Year: 1992
This report examines the experimental implementation of day fines in Staten Island and Milwaukee to assess the
usefulness of day fines, finding that they have the potential to increase collection rates and reduce costs associated with
uncollected fines.

C ASE ST UDIES
7. Inmate Fees as a Source of Revenue: Review of Challenges
Source: Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
Year: 2011
This report examines the state of fees imposed in inmates, their impact on inmates and the community, and the
possibility of imposing additional fees, finding that existing fees already impose a burden and create challenges for
reentry and recommending against the imposition of additional fees.

8. Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department

9

Source: Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Year: 2015
This report provides a broad discussion of the issues brought to light during the investigation of the Ferguson Police
Department, including an analysis of the imposition of fines and fees in the municipal courts.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice
Author: Rebekah Diller, Judith Greene and Michelle Jacobs
Year: 2009
This report describes the Maryland parole supervision fee’s impact on parolees and their reentry prospects,
characterizing the fee as counterproductive and providing recommendations to improve its implementation.

10. New York’s Credit Card Bail Experiment
Source: The New York City Criminal Justice Agency
Project Director: Mary T. Phillips
Year: 2014
This report analyzes the results of New York City’s experimental program to accept bail by credit card, finding that
defendants who were offered the option to pay bail by credit card were released at higher rates and spent less time in
pretrial detention.

11. Taming the Special Assessment Beast
Source: Court Manager
Author: Nial Raaen
Year: 2007
This article describes the reform of the Michigan judicial branch’s fee assessment process, which simplified the funding
system by collecting fees into and allocating from a single justice system fund.

12. Reducing Failure to Appear in Nebraska: A Field Study
Source: University of Nebraska
Authors: Mitchel N. Herian and Brian H. Bornstein
Year: 2010
This article documents an experiment in which researchers sent defendants post cards reminding them of their court
hearing, and found that the post cards were effective, and that message content influenced their effectiveness.

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

9. Maryland’s Parole Supervision Fee: A Barrier to Reentry

C A SE ST UDIES
13. Report to the Joint Interim Committee on State Justice System Revenues : State of
Oregon
Source: National Center for State Courts
Year: 2010
This report compares the funding structure for the Oregon court system to several other U.S. states.

10

14. The Assessment and Consequences of Legal Financial Obligations in Washington State
Source: Washington State Minority and Justice Commission
Authors: Katherine A. Beckett, Alexes M. Harris and Heather Evans
Year: 2008
This report analyzes the assessment and consequences of fines, fees, and restitution orders in Washington State,
examining their impact on convicts and the reentry process, as well as whether their effects are consistent with
legislative intent.

15. The Hidden Costs of Florida’s Criminal Justice Fees
Source: Brennan Center for Justice
Author: Rebekah Diller
Year: 2010
This report examines the application of fines and fees in Florida, with particular attention to the challenges that court
debt poses to the indigent and in the process of reentry, and the extent to which fees are cost effective.

16. The Outskirts of Hope: How Ohio’s Debtors’ Prisons Are Ruining Lives and Costing
Communities
Source: American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio
Year: 2013
This report provides an overview of the disadvantages of the system of court fines and fees in Ohio, and detailed cases
of individual experiences with court fees.

17. The Pretrial Release Project: A Study of Maryland’s Pretrial Release and Bail System.
Source: The Abell Foundation
Year: 2001
This report assesses the system of pretrial release in Maryland through a comparison of Baltimore with other districts
in Maryland, and makes recommendations for improvement of the pretrial release system.

18. The Staten Island Day-Fine Project
Source: National Institute of Justice
Authors: Laura A. Winterfield and Sally T. Hillsman
Year: 1993
This brief provides an overview and analysis of the experimental implementation of day fines in Staten Island in order
to assess the feasibility of implementing day fines in the United States.

C ASE ST UDIES
19. Why Crime Doesn’t Pay: Examining Felony Collections
Source: Institute for Court Management
Author: Don K. Murphy
Year: 2015
This report investigates the challenges in collecting fines and fees in felony cases state wide in Florida and in the local
courts of Volusia County and provides a number of recommendations for improving collections rates.

11

3. ISSUE STUDIES
I SSUE ST UDIES
1. Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families
Authors: Saneta deVuono-Powell, Chris Schweidler, Alicia Walters and Azadeh Zohrabi
Year: 2015
This report examines the mental, physical and financial costs of mass incarceration in the United States.

2. Do Attorneys Really Matter? The Empirical and Legal Case for the Right of Counsel
at Bail
Source: Cardozo Law Review
Authors: Douglas L. Colbert, Ray Paternoster and Shawn Bushway
Year: 2002
This article provides a legal case and evidence from a study of bail hearings in order to demonstrate the importance of
the presence of a legal advocate for the defense at bail hearings.

3. Drawing Blood from Stones: Legal Debt and Social Inequality in the Contemporary
United States
Source: American Journal of Sociology
Authors: Alexes Harris, Heather Evans, and Katherine Beckett
Year: 2010
This study analyzes national and state level court data to assess the social and legal consequences of monetary
sanctions.

4. Give us Free: Addressing Racial Disparities in Bail Determinations
Source: Legislative and Public Policy
Author: Cynthia E. Jones
Year: 2013
This article provides an overview of studies on racial bias in bail, examples of state efforts at pretrial racial justice
reform, and recommendations for pretrial justice reform.

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

Source: Ella Baker Center, Forward Together, Research Action Design

ISSUE ST UDIES
5. Investigating the Impact of Pretrial Detention on Sentencing Outcomes
Source: Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Authors: Christopher T. Lowenkamp, Marie VanNostrand and Alexander Holsinger
Year: 2013
This report investigates the connection between pretrial detention and prison sentencing, finding a correlation between
pretrial detention and both increased sentencing to prison and longer length of sentence.

12

6. Testing for Racial Discrimination in Bail Setting Using Nonparametric Estimation of a
Parametric Model
Authors: Shawn D. Bushaway and Jonah B. Gelbach
Year: 2010
This study investigates discrimination in bail setting, finding that black defendants are assigned higher bail levels than
white defendants.

7. The Criminal and Labor Market Impacts of Incarceration
Author: Michael Mueller-Smith
Year: 2014
This report analyzes data from a county in Texas to investigate the social and economic impacts of incarceration on the
incarcerated individual after reentry, and incarceration’s effect on recidivism.

8. The Labor Market Consequences of Incarceration
Source: Princeton University
Authors: Bruce Western, Jeffrey R. Kling and David F. Weiman
Year: 2001
This article discusses the possible mechanisms that link incarceration to impacts on employment and earnings, and the
difficulty in establishing causal inference.

9. The Mark of a Criminal Record
Source: The American Journal of Sociology
Author: Devah Pager
Year: 2003
This article analyzes the data from a study designed to test the effects of a criminal record on subsequent employment
opportunities for black and white job seekers.

10. The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration
Source: Vera Institute of Justice
Authors: Christian Henrichson, Joshua Rinaldi and Ruth Delaney
Year: 2015
This report investigates the cost of local jails by calculating jail-related costs borne by other parts of government and
that are therefore not on reflected in jail budgets.

I SSUE ST UDIES
11. Unsecured Bonds: The as Effective and Most Efficient Pretrial Release Option
Source: Pretrial Justice Institute
Author: Michael R. Jones
Year: 2013
This study analyzes the effects of secured and unsecured bonds on public safety, court appearance and jail bed use,
finding that unsecured bonds are generally as effective as secured bonds and result in reduced pretrial detention.

13

4. REFORM GUIDANCE
REFOR M GUIDES
1. Alternatives to Custodial Supervision: The Day Fine
Author: Edwin W. Zedlewski
Year: 2010
This discussion paper introduces day fines, explains different day fine systems, outlines efforts to implement them in
the United States, and describes the advantages and disadvantages of day fines.

2. Implementing the Recommendations of the National Symposium on Pretrial Justice: The
2013 Progress Report
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Year: 2014
This document lists the recommendations by the National Symposium on Pretrial Justice to advance reform of pretrial
justice systems, organized by actors including stakeholder groups, legislators, the philanthropic community and
academia, and describes progress in implementing these recommendations.

3. Repaying Debts
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Authors: Rachel L. McLean and Michael D. Thompson
Year: 2007
This document provides policymakers with advice on how to “increase accountability among people who commit
crimes, improve rates of child support collection and victim restitution, and make people’s transition from prisons and
jails to the community safe and successful.”

4. State of the Science of Pretrial Risk Assessment
Source: Pretrial Justice Institute
Author: Cynthia A. Mamalian
Year: 2011
This report provides an overview of pretrial risk assessments and explores important issues and challenges in
developing and implementing a pretrial risk assessment.

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

Source: National Institute of Justice

REFOR M GUIDES
5. Criminal Justice Debt: A Toolkit for Action
Source: Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
Author: Roopal Patel and Meghna Philip
Year: 2012
This toolkit provides guidance for reforming criminal justice debt collection policies.

14

6. Criminal Justice Debt: Action Kit for Web
Source: Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
Author: Roopal Patel and Meghna Philip
Year: 2012
This document offers materials for successfully implementing debt reform.

5. REFORM TOOLS
R EFOR M T OOLS
1. Ability to Pay Workgroup: Tools and Guidance for Determining and Addressing an
Obligor’s Ability to Pay 	
Source: Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office
Year: 2015
This report provides tools, best practices, and guidance to assist judges and court staff with determining an obligor’s
ability to pay and establishing payment plans, providing payment alternatives, enforcing court-ordered financial
obligations, and identifying uncollectible debts.

2. Collection of Fines and Court Costs in Adult Trial Courts
Source: Supreme Court of Ohio, Office of Judicial Services
Year: 2015
This bench card is provided to judges in Ohio as a resource for quick reference to reinforce judicial understanding and
implementation of alternative methods of fines and cost collection.

3. Georgia Public Defender Council Website
Source: Georgia Public Defender Council
This website provides links to various documents related to Georgia’s procedures for determining defendant indigence,
including the Procedure for Verification of Indigence, Guidelines and Procedure for Indigency Verification Systems
and Application to Continue to Retain Funds and the Guidelines for Determining Qualification of Applicants, among

others.

REFOR M T OOLS
4. Missouri Municipal Courts: Best Practice Recommendations
Source: National Center for State Courts
Project Director: Gordon M. Griller
Year: 2015
This document identifies a list of best practices in operating and managing limited jurisdiction courts and describes
approaches for implementing those practices in Missouri.

15

5. Pretrial Risk Assessment in Virginia
Source: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
Year: 2009

6. Press Release: More than 20 cities and states adopt risk assessment tool to help judges
decide which defendants to detain prior to trial.
Source: Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Year: 2015
This press release announces the rollout of a pretrial risk assessment tool developed by the Laura and John Arnold
Foundation, called the Public Safety Assessment, and provides links to additional information and contact information
for interested entities.

7. Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative Website
Source: Pretrial Justice Institute
Year: 2014
This website provides information on sites undergoing pretrial justice reform as part of the Pretrial Justice Institute’s
Smart Pretrial.

Resource Guide: Reforming the Assessment and Enforcement of Fines and Fees | OJP Diagnostic Center

This report presents the revised and validated Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument and detailed information
on the validation process.

 

 

The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct Side
Advertise here
Prisoner Education Guide side