Access to Justice Spotlight: Fines & Fees

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Department of Justice by Office for Access to Justice

In April of this year, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a letter to our state and local colleagues addressing the assessment of fines and fees against both juveniles and adults. The letter clarified the constitutional and statutory framework governing the imposition and enforcement of fines and fees, as well as highlighted significant public policy concerns that extend beyond the clear confines of the law.

Eliminating the unjust imposition of fines and fees is one of the most effective ways for jurisdictions to support the success of youth and low-income individuals, honor constitutional and statutory obligations, and reduce racial disparities in the administration of justice. I hope this report will serve as resource for policymakers invested in promoting a more just and equitable criminal justice ystem and look forward to continuing to collaborate with leaders and stakeholders in the criminal legal system to develop and share solutions, such as those detailed in this report.

Vanita Gupta
Associate Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice


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