Leadership, Ethics, and Trust

Progress on the Road to Justice

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Fees and fines in the justice system can be anything but just. Too many state and local governments tap legal-system collections, rather than adequate tax systems, to fund shared essentials like public safety and education. As a result, people with few financial resources are loaded with court-imposed debt often levied with little concern for their ability to pay. The cost is borne disproportionately by low-income, Black, and Brown families, heightening barriers to economic inclusion, and holding back well-being and health.

A growing number of states and localities are choosing a better approach.