The issue

Predatory fines and fees encourage policing-for-profit, criminalize poverty and endanger Black and brown lives. New Yorkers deserve to live without fear of lifelong debt and poverty, and they deserve a fair, transparent government. It’s time to end New York’s Ferguson Problem. 

We’re calling out New York’s Ferguson problem

After a police officer killed Michael Brown in 2014, the DOJ’s investigation of the Ferguson Police Department found the police were engaged in aggressive, racially-discriminatory policing practices in order to increase the city’s revenue by imposing fines and fees. By 2010, Ferguson generated over 12% of its revenue from fines and fees.

But Ferguson isn’t the only city suffering from a reliance on fines and fees. In New York, many localities’ reliance on fines and fees is just as bad — and in some cases worse — than Ferguson.

This issue brief authored by No Price on Justice campaign presents a brief introduction to New York’s predatory fines and fees and how this dangerous source of revenue systemically criminalizes poverty and endangers people of color. The brief also presents key examples of localities (you can see the full data maps here) where government reliance on fines and fees revenue is alarmingly high (over 12%) — and what we need to do to eliminate this toxic source of revenue.

Read and download the full issue brief here.

Want to take action to stop the criminalization of poverty? Join us May 17th for our TAX DAY RALLY to end New York’s predatory court fees.