March 1, 2022 — Issue Brief

Criminal justice debt has soared in recent years as governments have attempted to use fines and fees to cover the growing costs of the bloated criminal justice system, as well as government operations generally. The result has been disastrous.

Congress must act now. Fines, fees, and criminal justice debt are often seen as state and local
problems in need of state and local solutions. But federal law has exacerbated these problems
and can and should be leveraged to address them.