When All Else Fails, Fining the Family

We are pleased to share with you our latest report, "When All Else Fails, Fining the Family: First Person Accounts of Criminal Justice Debt" written by Mitali Nagrecha and Mary Fainsod Katzenstein with Estelle Davis. The report provides first person accounts of the impact of criminal justice debt - child support, victim restitution, fines and fees - on reentry and community reintegration. It discusses how the heavy burden of debt affects not just the returning person him/herself, but their families as well.

Among the report's key recommendations are:

  • Automatic administrative suspension of child support obligations for any person unable to meet these obligations because of his or her incarceration.
  • Increasing transparency about financial penalties and criminal justice debt through the development of a jurisdiction-specific, comprehensive inventory of such penalties and how they overlap.
  • Amend all mandatory criminal justice sanctions so that sanctions are imposed on an ability to pay basis.

The implementation of these recommendations would improve the prospects of successful reentry and would avoid shifting the burden of debt repayment to families in an effort to avert the re-incarceration of their loved one.

Download "When All Else Fails, Fining the Family".

©Center for Community Alternatives, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.