National Task Force on Fines,
Fees and Bail Practices

Resource Center

The Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) formed a National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices to address the ongoing impact that these legal financial obligations (LFOs) have on economically disadvantaged communities and to draft model statutes and court rules for setting, collecting, and waiving court-imposed payments. 

Texas and Ability to Pay

A new bench card from the Texas Office of Court Administration helps judges follow the new guidelines about determining a person’s ability to pay.

State Fines, Fees and Bail Practices Interactive Map

If you have information that can be added or updated please email us.

NCSC Resources

Watch the video from April 2017's CourtHack

CourTool Measure 7 

Pretrial Justice Center for Courts

Listen to NCSC's podcast, Court Talk, about bail reform

Trends in State Courts 2017

Increasing fines and fees, and sanctions for nonpayment, can have a particularly devastating effect on the lives of low-income offenders. This year's edition of Trends in State Courts examines how states are coping with the challenges and opportunities posed by fines, fees, and bail practices.

Related Resources

Texas Billionaire John Arnold Gives $39 Million To Reform America’s Broken Bail System

How The For-Profit Prison Industry Keeps 460,000 Innocent People in Jail Every Day

Bronx DA Says Her Prosecutors Struggle to Institute Bail Reforms

Pay $500 on a panhandling charge or sit in jail for five days. Should NC find a better way?

The Consequences of Rising Court Fines and Fees in North Carolina

Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School 50-State Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder

Brennan Center Criminal Justice Debt 

Pretrial Justice Institute Pretrial Justice Institute

Vera Institute of Justice Videos Bail, Fines, and FeesExamining the Costs and Consequences of Charging for Justice in New Orleans

The Council of State Governments Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs)




What's Included in the Resource Center?

This Resource Center includes products created by the National Task Force and highlights other resources related to these issues. While the enforcement and collection of various court fines and costs is essential to the integrity of the courts in gaining compliance with court orders and ensuring that those orders are not violated, an increasing amount of attention is being focused on how fines, fees and bail practices disproportionately impact economically disadvantaged communities.

Featured Resources

The National Task Force is now pleased to offer its Principles on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices. Developed with input from a variety of stakeholders, the principles can be used as a basis for developing more fair, transparent, and efficient methods of judicial practice regarding bail practices and the imposition and collection of legal financial obligations. Read the resolution passed by the Conference of Chief Justices.

Task Force Products
The National Task Force has created and continues to develop tools to help courts improve their practices in this area. 


CCJ and COSCA Policy Papers and Resolutions

Over the past 15 years CCJ and COSCA have developed policy papers on a variety of important issues. Within the past five years, four papers relate to fines, fees, and bail practices. CCJ and COSCA have also passed resolutions in support of the National Task Force's work.


Technology tools are increasingly being used by courts to assist litigants, judges and court staff with the issues related to fines and fees and bail practices.


State Reports and Resources
An interactive map providing information on which states have been the subject of studies or reports, which states have pilot programs or initiatives in place, which states have developed ability-to-pay standards and/or other state-specific information related to fines, fees and bail practices. 

Community Courts use alternative sanctions such as treatment, training, or education instead of fines. See examples of Alternative sanctions and amnesty programs.

National Reports 

Many government and non-profit organizations have published reports that examine issues surrounding fines, fees, and bail practices.


Grants Funding National Initiatives
Organizations such as the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the State Justice Institute are providing grants for initiatives that will have a national impact.


International Reports and Resources
These reports discuss how other countries approach the issues surrounding fines, fees, and bail practices.


Juvenile Reports
The issues surrounding fines, fees, and bail practices affect juveniles involved in the justice system, as documented in various reports.