Center for Justice & Safety Finance 

Fine & Fee Initiative

With a $1.2 million grant from Arnold Ventures, the PFM Center for Justice & Safety Finance (CJSF) is currently providing technical assistance at no cost* to three major U.S. counties (Dallas, Nashville-Davidson, and Ramsey, MN) to reduce their reliance on fines and fees from the criminal justice system as a source of revenue.

A number of local governments have been working to reform the fine and fee structure within their criminal justice system, in part because research has demonstrated that relying on this type of fine and fee revenue may often be counterproductive – creating additional cost that can sometimes equal or exceed revenue – and unnecessarily burdening lower income criminal defendants with no significant public safety benefit.  

The biggest hurdle for most county-level jurisdictions is developing a plan to identify ways to close budget gaps that would result from the loss of revenue. With that in mind, CJSF is working with leadership in Dallas, Nashville-Davidson, and Ramsey Counties to assess the financial impact of their current use of fines and fees and develop a plan that will phase out their use, including identifying alternative revenue sources and opportunities to reduce expenses.  

*Subject to certain terms and conditions, including selection to participate in the initiative.

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CJSF has worked with cities and counties across the country to drive fiscal and operational innovation, sustainability, and affordability for complex public safety and justice issues.  From jails and courts to police and fire departments, we are experts in the fields of criminal justice and public safety with a record of producing results for clients.

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About CJSF

PFM’s Center for Justice & Safety Finance (CJSF) stands at the intersection of policy, operations, and finance - building a 21st Century criminal justice and public safety system for cities, counties, and communities across the country. By tapping into our team’s unparalleled financial expertise, disciplined management, and ingenuity, we provide tangible and sustainable solutions for the most pressing budgetary concerns of our time.

Meet the Team