Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,500,000)
The Center for Justice Innovation, with Alabama Appleseed, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Applied Research Services, proposes to provide TTA to five jurisdictions across the country to improve the quality of justice provided in communities that use fines and fees. Primary activities will include: 1) mapping and analyzing each jurisdiction's fines and fees to generate the net benefit of current practice in the chosen sites; 2) assessing how well local and state laws and policies related to fines and fees meet constitutional standards and align with best practices; 3) facilitating the development of tailored work plans defining each site's goals; and 4) supporting sites in the completion of next steps through ongoing expert assistance and action research.
The learnings from the sites, to be selected by the Center and its partners under the direction of BJA, will be used to identify gaps in knowledge affecting fines and fees and inform development of project deliverables. The project pairs experienced practitioners and researchers to take a needs-based approach to working with jurisdictions. The team will help sites understand what can be distilled from practice and research to inform how sites can use the information to improve their systems. Each site will pair with an identifiable community consultant, such as an advocacy, research, or public policy organization, that has an understanding of the issues, connections to impacted people, and a willingness to provide localized subject-matter expertise.
The Center and its partners will collaborate on the development and dissemination of a variety of materials, including at least one white paper, monograph, or other document on a topic area that was identified as a gap in knowledge. Publications will be disseminated through the Center's expansive network and at conferences or in-person meetings that include fines and fees as topic areas.