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Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures

Academy for Justice: A Report on Scholarship and Criminal Justice Reform, Erik Luna, ed., 2017, Forthcoming

UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-25

21 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2017 Last revised: 28 Aug 2017

Beth A. Colgan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: August 15, 2017

Abstract

The use of fines, fees, and forfeitures has expanded significantly in recent years as lawmakers have sought to fund criminal justice systems without raising taxes. Concerns are growing, however, that inadequately designed systems for the use of such economic sanctions have problematic policy outcomes, such as the distortion of criminal justice priorities, exacerbation of financial vulnerability of people living at or near poverty, increased crime, jail overcrowding, and even decreased revenue. In addition, the imposition and collections of fines, fees, and forfeitures in many jurisdictions are arguably unconstitutional, and therefore create the risk of often costly litigation. This chapter provides an overview of those policy and constitutional problems and provides several concrete solutions for reforming the use of fines, fees, and forfeitures.

Keywords: fines, forfeitures, eighth amendment, excessive fines clause, due process, equal protection, poverty, right to counsel, policing

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Colgan, Beth A., Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures (August 15, 2017). Academy for Justice: A Report on Scholarship and Criminal Justice Reform, Erik Luna, ed., 2017, Forthcoming; UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3019435

Beth A. Colgan (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-825-6996 (Phone)

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