July 15, 2019

The Community Corrections Fines and Fees Study (CCFF) launched one year ago this month. It’s been a busy year! Here’s a (brief) timeline of what we have been up to:

• September 2018: By this point, the majority of our 39 study sites were selected. PIs began working with practitioners from each site to negotiate data acquisition contracts or letters of support for administrative data collection.

• October 2018: We finalized our study codebook, which outlines the topics and information we hope to collect from each agency participating in our project. This was a huge step forward and allowed us to begin data acquisition discussions with staff from each study site.

• November 2018: Several team members attended the American Society of Criminology meeting in Atlanta, GA, where a CCFF meeting was held over lunch to discuss our progress and next steps. A presentation was also given about the project to the University of Cincinnati Sentencing Research Group.

• December 2018: Preliminary drafts of all study policies, protocols, and plans were submitted to our funder, Arnold Ventures. Details about each participating study site were also submitted, along with our first progress report. This information was reviewed to determine if the project could move forward with data collection.

• January 2019: We received approval for the project to continue from Arnold Ventures. Formal discussions began regarding data collection and extraction protocols with participating study sites. The sampling plan for our online survey with probation and parole officers was also completed.

• February 2019: IRB approval for the administrative data collection phase was obtained from nearly all universities participating in the study. This allowed CCFF staff to move forward with data collection, therefore data extraction processes began with participating study sites.

• March 2019: University of Cincinnati staff gave a poster presentation about the CCFF Project at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

• April 2019: By this point data collection of agency records had begun for almost every study site. We also updated and re-finalized the sampling and analysis plan for the administrative data collection phase of the study.

• May 2019: Data collection began for a sub-division of the CCFF study, CCFF-Policy Review. This project involves examining statutes and policies governing the collection and administration of fines and fees for all states and agencies participating in our study. We hope that this effort will help us shed light on the current laws and policies affecting fines and fee practices throughout the United States.

• June 2019: Our online survey was finalized and piloted with several former probation and parole officers. This proved to be a rich source of feedback, and we began addressing all edits and suggestions received.

• July 2019: All co-PIs and several project staff will be meeting in Cincinnati, OH, for a two-day conference. During this time, we will begin planning for our qualitative data collection phase, which will include interviews of probationers/parolees and their families. We also expect that the online survey of probation and parole practitioners will launch in September.

Don’t forget to check back for more updates!

December 13, 2018

Dr. Meghan O’Neil discusses her work on the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project. 

As part of The Learning Community on Poverty and Inequality Speaker Series (University of Michigan, School of Social Work), Dr. O’Neil explains how she studies how our most vulnerable citizens interact with the judicial system to understand how excessive court-mandated costs can spur deleterious consequences such as homelessness, bankruptcy, criminal activity, and victimization. 

Slides from her presentation can be found here. 

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