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Report urges reform to Nashville justice system's fines and fees

Posted at 9:37 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 23:39:04-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s a push to fix a practice that Mayor Cooper says makes the criminal justice system harder on poor people: the fines and fees that can quickly add up throughout the legal process.

A report from the Center for Justice and Safety Finance addressed the fines and fees usually charged to those in the justice system in Nashville, which can disproportionately further punish low-income individuals.

While the report pointed out some positives for Nashville, like eliminating a $44 a day jail fee for those arrested for misdemeanors, the group Free Hearts says the city should forgive jail fees that have already built up.

"They can make that 2018 law retroactive, and that would go along way with cutting fees," said Keeda Haynes with Free Hearts.

Free Hearts recently started up a fund in Nashville to pay fines and fees to help restore the voting rights of those who used to be in jail.

The report suggests Metro Council could take further action by eliminating a $33 a month probation supervision fee charged to anyone the state oversees on probation.

Mayor Cooper's office says he looks forward to implementing more of the report's suggestions with Metro Council and the courts.