Criminalizing Poverty Blog


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Memo to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Discusses Disparate Impact of Court Fines and Fees in Nevada

On June 13, 2017, the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights submitted a memorandum to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which detailed the Committee’s findings of inequities in Nevada’s implementation of court fines and fees and provided recommendations for reform.

The Committee's findings indicate that court fines and fees have the most devastating impact on poor individuals. The memo states that, despite a Nevada Supreme Court ruling "that an individual should be given an opportunity to explain his or her inability to pay," many judges "may still not allow individuals to explain their financial circumstances and are continuing to sentence them to jail for failure to pay." Additional findings include that Nevada does not allow a grace period before arresting individuals who miss a payment of a payment plan, and that youth of color are more likely to have unresolved court fines and fees than white youth after their cases are closed. 


Read the full memo here.

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