Two hundred years ago, the United States abolished debtors prisons but a new wave of monetary sanctions is bringing back the practice. #FeesAndFines was our multimedia campaign to shed light on a new wave of punishment spreading across America - monetary sanctions known as Fees and Fines.
This campaign brought activists, lawmakers and community members together to work on ending a vicious cycle of poverty and incarceration perpetuated by Fees and Fines. Economic pressures associated with America's ballooning prison and criminal justice systems have created a new wave of punishment in the form of monetary sanctions known as fees and fines. In addition to locking people up in physical prisons, these policies trap some of our most vulnerable citizens in financial prisons, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. While the bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform has benefited from widespread media attention, that same level of awareness has not yet been brought to the issue of fees and fines, especially on a state and local level.
In partnership with the Arnold Foundation, #cut50 lead a multimedia public engagement campaign combining policy expertise, celebrity reach, political partnerships and the voices of the American people to drive reform. Several key influencers, including Russell Simmons, Michael K. Williams, Omar Epps, Alicia Silverstone, and Malik Yoba participated in our series launched by our co-founders Van Jones and Jessica Jackson Sloan.
Read our Huffington Post series here:
Van Jones: Are Debtors' Prisons Returning?
Jessica Jackson Sloan: Fees And Fines: How Debtors’ Prisons Punish the Poor
Russell Simmons: How We Fund Our Criminal Justice System
Michael K. Williams: How to End Debtors' Prisons in America
Alicia Silverstone: How Fees and Fines Hurt Our Children
- Malik Yoba: How Private Probation Perpetuates Debtors’ Prisons
We also partnered with actor, filmmaker, and activist Matthew Cooke, whose social justice and advocacy commentaries have been viewed over 100 million times on Facebook to produce these videos:
This long standing barbaric practice the state demands of our police officers is a root cause of our criminal justice mess. Join me and #cut50 to raise awareness about this authoritarian unAmerican practice called #FeesandFines.
The anti-American practice of abusing our public safety institutions to extract revenues for the state is commonplace.
#cut50 continues to urge lawmakers across all states to push for bail reform and end any barbaric monetary sanction practices that disproportionately affect communities of color and poor people.