Right now, California law charges administrative fees to people who come in contact with the criminal justice system, including fees for public defenders, booking, mandatory drug testing and costs related to a person’s incarceration and probation supervision, like electronic monitoring.
These administrative fees — which can quickly add up to thousands of dollars — are not supposed to be punitive or restorative. They are supposed to help counties recoup costs. But they are essentially another form of punishment that disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-income communities, driving people deeper into poverty and further entangling them in the criminal system because people can’t afford to pay.
Families Over Fees Act (SB 144) will eliminate these fees and make sure California stops using the criminal justice system to generate revenue on the backs of California’s most vulnerable families.