Washington State Fines and Fees

The National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School has published a “fines and fees justice index” for each of the fifty states assessing the fairness and appropriateness of the fines and fees imposed by the criminal justice system.

In the past I’ve written about the disparate impact that court “legal financial obligations” have upon people of color and poor people, an how the fees often trap them in an endless cycle of debt that eventually leads them to prison. Since that report, the state legislature has made some strides in giving judges more discretion in imposing fines and penalties.

The good news: Washington state ranked first in the nation for its policies on LFOs. The bad news: every state, including Washington, got a failing grade.

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