In counties nationwide, financial obligations are placed on individuals as part of their involvement in the local justice system, from a citation issued in lieu of arrest to costs associated with court-mandated treatment after release. While these financial penalties often appear to be minor, in reality, they can place a major—sometimes insurmountable—burden on the people on whom they are assessed. This brief will detail how fines and fees are typically used in county justice systems, identify reasons for which these financial penalties may be more harmful than helpful and highlight successful alternative strategies being implemented in communities across the country.
NACo and PFM partnered together for the Reducing Fines and Fees in County Justice Systems brief which offers an explanation on how fines and fees are administered at the county level and provide solutions on what counties can do to effectively address fines and fees.
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