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Eliminating Adult Criminal Justice Fees in Alameda County

Alameda County, CA
Program Year: 2019

Abstract:
Going against a common industry practice, Alameda County is one of the first counties in California to abolish what some call “crippling” criminal justice fees sanctioned upon justice involved individuals. With the adoption of the resolution, Alameda County’s Central Collections was able to discharge nearly 178,000 Probation and Public Defender client accounts, for a total of almost $44 million. These fees inflict harm on low-income defendants by perpetuating poverty and creating additional barriers to employment, housing, and reentry. And, because people of color are arrested and punished disproportionately, communities of color bear a much heavier burden of the costs. In the long-term such sanctions significantly harm the efforts of formerly incarcerated people to rehabilitate and reintegrate, thus compromising key principles of fairness in the administration of justice in a democratic society and engendering deep distrust of the criminal justice system among those overburdened by them. In sending a message of harm reduction and fair chance at reentry, people coming out of Alameda County criminal justice system are leaving with a clean financial slate and better chance of successful reentry.

Contact:
Ms. Monica Uriarte
Probation Grants Administrative Manager