This weekend: Greensboro Occasion examines the impression of fines and costs

This weekend, the North Carolina Fines and Fees Coalition and Aspen Institute Financial Security Program are hosting an event in Greensboro that will examine the impact of fines, fees, and debts in North Carolina criminal justice.

The event begins on Friday at 11 a.m. and takes place in the main banquet room of the Bennett College Global Learning Center. 521 Gorrell St., Greensboro. The program, which runs through Saturday, will include a variety of criminal justice experts from across the political spectrum:

  • The Honorable Josephine Davis, North Carolina Supreme Court, 14th Judicial District
  • Satana Deberry, District Attorney for Durham County
  • Dennis Gaddy, Founder and Executive Director of the Community Success Initiative
  • Brandon Garrett, Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law
  • Kristie Puckett-WIlliams, Nationwide Campaign for Smart Justice Manager, ACLU of North Carolina
  • Vikrant Reddy, Senior Fellow at the Charles Koch Institute
  • Priya Sarathy Jones, Director of the National Justice Center’s Fines and Fees Campaign
  • Joanna Smith-Ramani, executive director of the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program
  • Daryl Atkinson, co-director, Forward Justice

“In North Carolina, criminal justice systems have imposed heavy fines, fees, legal fees and other debts on residents, creating a ‘two-tier justice system,'” the coalition said in a press release on Monday. “In an attempt to address budget gaps, some states and municipalities have increased court fines and fees, charged late payment fees and installment payment plans, and stepped up debt collection efforts. These efforts disproportionately hit low-income households and households with color, and when penalties such as driver’s license suspension are introduced, it exacerbates a person’s insolvency. “

Policy Watch has written extensively on this issue, including reporting policy changes under Deberry as District Attorney in Durham.

Among the changes Deberry made shortly after taking office: waiving unpaid fines and charges for 2,118 people who lost their driver’s license at least two years ago to remove a major barrier to legal driving.

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