Saturday, April 15, 2017
Overview: Criminal justice debt – the system of fees and fines in the criminal justice system – has serious consequences. The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder brings transparency to this area of significant legal complexity: it gives easier access to state laws that govern criminal justice debt and suggests policy solutions through the Criminal Justice Policy Program’s Confronting Criminal Justice Debt: A Guide for Policy Reform. The Reform Builder and Policy Guide are organized into the following reform areas:
1. Ability to Pay
2. Conflicts of Interest
3. Poverty Penalties and Poverty Traps
National Comparison : Hover over a state on the map to see key criminal justice debt metrics. Currently the map is color-coded by the number of fees and surcharges. Click to navigate to a state summary page with additional statistics, queries into the full law database, and details about our methodology.
State Analysis: Knowing where to begin can be overwhelming: each state has dozens – if not hundreds – of relevant laws governing criminal justice debt. The cards below provide state-specific facts about the operation of criminal justice debt and a number of suggested queries into the Law Explorer so that you may begin to research.
Law Explorer: Search across all of the laws in the states, or through topic-specific tabs.
Reform Builder: A shareable space for users to collect, analyze, and compare laws, and to consider policy alternatives.
The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder is a project of the National Criminal Justice Debt Initiative of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School in collaboration with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and with user experience design by metaLAB (at) Harvard. The Criminal Justice Policy Program (CJPP) at Harvard Law School conducts research and advocacy to support criminal justice reform. It generates legal and policy analysis designed to serve advocates and policymakers throughout the country, convenes diverse stakeholders to diagnose problems and chart concrete reforms, and collaborates with government agencies to pilot and implement policy initiatives. CJPP’s National Criminal Justice Debt Initiative aims to help bring about major reforms in the way that jurisdictions around the country impose and collect fees and fines in the criminal justice system. For more information, please visit cjpp.law.harvard.edu. Thanks to Ted Grajeda from the Noun Project for the icons.