Fines & Fees Justice Center: The United States’ overreliance on legal fees and fines is directly impacting one in three American families, according to a new survey just released from the Fines and Fees Justice Center and the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law.
At least 17 million families with children sacrifice essentials due to court debt
The new report exposes a stark reality: for millions of working families, money needed for necessities, such as food, housing, healthcare and transportation, is being redirected to pay off court debt. At least 17 million families with children sacrifice on essentials due to court debt.
“The United States has put a high price on justice and that price is being felt by millions of Americans. These consequences are not limited by income, jurisdiction or geography – it’s happening nationwide,” said Tim Curry, Policy & Research Director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center. “Left unchecked, this will only further degrade the economic stability of working families.”
Fines are imposed by courts as a form of punishment for a range of infractions, the most common being traffic violations. State and local governments then tack on additional fees to fill budget holes left when they refuse to fund government directly and equitably.