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Principles On Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices

The Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators (CCJ/COSCA) National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices recently released an 8-page report titled, Principles on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices.

The principles each fall into one of the following seven categories:

  • Structural and Policy-Related Principles
  • Governance Principles
  • Transparency Principles
  • Fundamental Fairness Principles
  • Pretrial Release and Bail Reform Principles
  • Fines, Fees and Alternative Sanctions Principles; and,
  • Accountability Principles

Categories and principles are expected to be refined as the Task Force and its stakeholders work through existing and emerging issues on court fines, fees, and bail practices, including pending legislation and cases in individual states.

The Task Force originated in 2016 from the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.  Collaboration at the time identified a need to: develop recommendations and tools to promote the fair and efficient enforcement of the law; ensure no person is denied access to the justice system based on lack of economic resources; and, develop policies relating to legal financial obligations that promote access, fairness, and transparency.  SJI, along with the DOJ/Bureau of Justice Assistance, has provided grant funding to support the work of the Task Force.