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  • Cohort 2023

    DC Fiscal Policy Institute

    Systemically Reforming Fines and Fees and Reducing Racialized Wealth Extraction

    Washington, DC

    The monetary penalties and legal financial obligations associated with criminal legal system involvement—and their disproportionate effect on low-income people of color—are of increasing concern across the country. And for people with low incomes, the accumulation of fines and fees associated with infractions, traffic tickets, and convictions can initiate and perpetuate a cycle of poverty and thereby extend contact with the criminal legal system. In Washington, DC, for example, defendants who cannot afford an attorney must pay public defense fees, and the inability to pay these court-ordered fees and fines can lead to wages being garnished, to parole being extended, and even to imprisonment.

    With Catalyst Grant funding, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) will seek to acquire previously unavailable data on fees and fines from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and other city agencies and create a data dashboard illustrating the harms fees and fines have on Black, brown, and low-income communities. DCFPI will share its data dashboard with community stakeholders and use it to lay the groundwork for a reform agenda that reduces extractive methods of revenue generation. Through this project, DCFPI will also push the government agencies responsible for enforcing and collecting fines and fees to collect data better and more transparently and to share the data for stronger evidence-based reforms.


    2023 Grantees

    Beyond the Bars
    Miami Gardens, FL

    Black Voters Matter
    Fulton County, GA

    Center for Policing Equity
    St. Louis, MO

    Chicago Appleseed
    Cook County, IL

    Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
    Los Angeles, CA

    DC Fiscal Policy Institute
    Washington, DC

    Forward Through Ferguson
    St. Louis City and County, MO

    Freedom Community Center
    St. Louis, MO

    Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association
    Cuyahoga County, OH

    Homeward Bound
    Dallas County, TX

    Sacramento, CA

    Innovate Memphis
    Memphis, TN

    Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice
    Washtenaw County, MI

    Just Communities Arizona
    Pima County, AZ

    Justice Management Institute
    New Orleans, LA

    Mediation and Restorative Services
    Anoka County, MN

    People of Progression
    Outagamie County, WI

    Phoenix Youth and Family Services
    Ashley County, Bradley County, Chicot County, Desha County, and Drew County, AR

    Project Curate
    Harris County, TX

    Pillars of the Community
    San Diego, CA

    Safer Foundation
    Cook County, IL

    San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project
    San Francisco, CA

    Starting Over, Inc.
    Riverside County, CA

    Denver, CO

    United Way of South Central Michigan
    Jackson County, MI