Reducing the Use of Fines, Fees, and Collateral Consequences

gavel on top of US $100 bills

The scale of criminal debt in the United States has exploded, with local, state and federal court imposing billions of dollars in fines and fees on people in criminal cases. If the person lacks the ability to pay or does not pay the charges, even more financial penalties and legal consequences can result. The Wilson Center studies the problem of spiraling criminal debt, develops recommendations for law and policy reforms, and briefs constitutional questions concerning imposing debt on persons who lack ability to pay.

National Fines and Fees Survey

In collaboration with the Fines and Fees Justice Center, the Wilson Center conducted a nationally representative survey on individuals' experience with fines and fees. Read our report here and explore the results below or in a new window.