Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Department of Justice issues guidance to courts on jail for nonpayment of fines or fees.

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a guidance letter on practices around the country related to the assessment and enforcement of fines and fees in state and local courts. This letter has been sent to state chief justices and state court administrators.

The agency alleges that, "[t]he letter addresses some of the most common practices that run afoul of the U.S. Constitution and/or other federal laws, such as incarcerating individuals for nonpayment without determining their ability to pay. The letter also discusses the importance of due process protections such as notice and, in appropriate cases, the right to counsel; the need to avoid unconstitutional bail practices; and due process concerns raised by certain private probation arrangements."

The Department has also developed a resource guide on reforming the assessment and enforcement of fines and fees.

For more information, click here.