Justice Department Publishes Report on Policies that Reduce Fines and Fees

Marking its second anniversary, the Justice Department's Office for Access to Justice (ATJ) published a report, "Access to Justice Spotlight: Fines & Fees." It underscores the nationwide need to reduce dependency on criminal and civil fines and fees. The focus is the severe impact these fees can have on individuals, particularly when their ability to pay isn't considered. 

The report, commissioned by Associate Attorney General Gupta, provides policymakers with 12 strategic methods from various U.S. jurisdictions. These methods aim to make the imposition of fines more equitable, ranging from the elimination of certain fees to refining debt collection processes. A section is also dedicated to addressing juvenile fines and fees. 

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta emphasized the achievements of the ATJ in its two years, noting its work in expanding legal assistance to diverse communities. Director Rachel Rossi echoed this sentiment, highlighting collaborations that promote universal justice. 

Since its inception in October 2021, the ATJ has spearheaded initiatives around language accessibility, public defense, successful reentry of the incarcerated, and justice for underserved communities, among others.