Proportionate Financial Sanctions: Policy Prescriptions for Judicial Reform

Criminal Justice Policy Program, Harvard Law School, 2019

80 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2020

See all articles by Sharon Brett

Sharon Brett

Harvard Law School

Mitali Nagrecha

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 4, 2019

Abstract

Eliminating the harms of exorbitant monetary sanctions on poor people in our civil and criminal legal systems requires wholesale change. In this paper, the Criminal Justice Policy Program (CJPP) at Harvard Law School proposes a framework for one component of such reform: a complete reworking of how courts handle financial sanctions. The judicial branch has an independent responsibility to sentence and enforce fines fairly. In most jurisdictions, courts could implement these changes today without legislative reform. Although legislation is needed in many states — including to eliminate fees and surcharges and decriminalize low-level offenses — courts need not wait for such reforms to ease or even prevent the worst harms that excessive financial sanctions create for poor people, especially people of color.

Keywords: courts, fines and fees, fines

Suggested Citation

Brett, Sharon and Nagrecha, Mitali, Proportionate Financial Sanctions: Policy Prescriptions for Judicial Reform (September 4, 2019). Criminal Justice Policy Program, Harvard Law School, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3506268

Sharon Brett (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mitali Nagrecha

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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