About the Community Corrections Fines and Fees Study

The Community Corrections Fines and Fees Project is led by Associate Professor Dr. Ebony Ruhland (Principal Investigator) from Rutgers University Newark, School of Criminal Justice. The project is a multi-state, mixed-methods study that examines how fines and fees operate in community corrections (probation and parole) and how fines and fees impact the ability of individuals to succeed on supervision in several U.S. states. Dr. Ruhland leads a team of professors and researchers from Drexel University (Dr. Jordan Hyatt), Georgia State University (Dr. Shytierra Gaston), Indiana University-Bloomington (Dr. Miriam Northcutt Bohmert), the University of Michigan Law School (Dr. Meghan O’Neil), the University of Minnesota Law School (Kelly Lyn Mitchell and Dr. Julia Laskorunsky, Robina Institute), and Rutgers University Camden (Dr. Nathan Link). This groundbreaking work is funded by Arnold Ventures.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, by the end of 2016 there were approximately 4.5 million adults serving sentences on community supervision (probation and parole). The total amount of fines and fees those individuals pay varies by jurisdiction, offense type, court orders, and other conditions. Because fines and fees vary greatly, little is known about the true impact of those fines and fees for the individuals who are required to pay them. Yet, these monetary burdens may influence an individual’s ability to successfully complete their community supervision (fees are typically ordered as conditions of supervision), potentially putting those individuals at risk for revocation back to prison or extended sentences if they are unable to pay. These fines and fees may place additional burdens on their families and communities, and could have greater economic consequences on corrections systems. Jurisdictions and states are aware that fines and fees can have far-reaching implications for individuals as well as the correctional system and seek to understand how they might reduce revocations in order to minimize the growth of prison populations and to help individuals successfully complete their supervision. This study will seek to understand the implications of those monetary requirements have for the individual and on the criminal justice system.

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