Contra Costa County Places Indefinite Moratorium on Criminal Justice Fees

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On September 25, 2019, The Press (of East Contra Costa County) reported that the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has placed an indefinite moratorium on locally imposed criminal justice fees. County officials implemented the measure in order to examine the effect of fines, fees, and collection practices on low-income community members.

Community advocates have long maintained that county administrative fees and associated collection practices inordinately impact low-income people who are working on reentering society after a criminal conviction—and that they particularly impact people of color. Specifically, advocates have voiced concern about the ways in which mounting debt from fees, aggressive collection practices, and the futility of the fee waiver system pose severe challenges to those populations.

The article quotes Andrea Crider, a Staff Attorney with BayLegal’s Reentry Project, which works to reduce barriers to successful reentry for people who have been convicted of crimes. “The majority of my clients are people who are affected by fines and fees of the criminal justice system,” she said. “Some of those people were convicted 10 or 15 years ago. They have served their time. They have rehabilitated and gone on with their life. These collection agencies are now coming after them way later down the road.”

Read the entire article here.

For more information about BayLegal’s community reentry services, see our Reentry Legal Clinic calendar.