Examining The Intersection Of Criminal Justice And Financial Services

Just Economy Conference – May 11, 2021


This session focused on the implementation of strategies that increase the integration of formerly incarcerated consumers into the financial mainstream, with the ultimate goal of building assets among Deep South low-wealth residents. According to the Sentencing Project, three Deep South states in our footprint are among the top five states with the highest rates of incarceration. Like elsewhere in the country, due to the racial inequities embedded into our criminal justice system, the incarcerated population is disproportionately Black and Latino. Additionally, the Deep South carries over $4 billion in federal criminal justice-related debt alone. This session pulls on the knowledge of panelists including those impacted to assist attendees in advocating for the removal of policies and regulations that act as barriers to opportunity for formerly incarcerated people.


  • Akiesha Anderson, Policy Director, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice
  • Calandra Davis, Policy Analyst, Hope Policy Institute
  • Mandy Pellegrin, Policy Director, The Sycamore Institute
  • Brian Straessle, Director of External Affairs, The Sycamore Institute
  • Sara Totonchi, Executive Director, Southern Center for Human Rights


NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.

Totonchi 00:09

Hello and welcome. My name is Sarah Totonchi, the executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights. And it is my pleasure to welcome you to a workshop called being examining the intersection between criminal justice and financial services in the deep south. This webinar, which is sponsored by the Hope Policy Institute, is a continuation of the effort to explore the interlocking systems of imprisonment and economic inequality that blocked formerly incarcerated people from reaching sustained financial mobility levels, and thus preventing successful reentry. We have a very exciting panel for you today. And to kick it off, is we’re so excited to present you some new research from the Hope Policy Institute, in the form of a study called debt burden for formerly incarcerated tops 4 billion. This will be presented to you by Calandra Davis, who is a policy analyst at the Hope Policy Institute. Prior to joining the policy team Calandra served as Hope’s financial inclusion officer for the central Mississippi market, where she provided financial inclusion services to the unbanked and underbanked and build partnerships to address economic mobility, the racial wealth gap and affordable housing Calandra thanks for presenting about your study to us. It’s all yours.

Davis 01:40

Thank you, Sarah. So again, good afternoon, everyone. I’m Calandra Davis, a policy analyst with Hope Policy Institute, which is the policy arm of hope enterprise corporation to help credit union hope policy suits most recent report is damning in the intersection of criminal justice and financial services in the deep south, is the foundation for today’s discussion. This presentation is rooted not only in the data and analysis of federal criminal justice debt in the deep south, but also in the experiences of those impacted by the criminal system. Next slide please. There are various forms of financial barriers that people face once interaction with the criminal system, which are discussed fully in the paper. For the purposes of today’s presentation, we will focus mostly on criminal justice-related debt, which is debt composed of legally binding financial obligations imposed on those convicted by criminal courts. were more later in the webinar from the sycamore Institute about the impact of fines and fees in one Deep South state. On slide three, we will talk about why it’s so important to focus this conversation on a deep south region. Four of the 10 states with the highest incarceration rates in the country are concentrated in this region. We often think about the criminal justice financial system as two separate systems. This map shows how these systems interlock DEP is connected to both the high incarceration rates and the high and underbanked household rates. unbanked house, calls are defined as not having a savings or checking account with a financial institution and one majority black, Alabama County, Jefferson County, the state prison incarceration rate surpasses the state’s rate is 627 per 100,000 residents. The same county also holds a high rate of unbanked households at Turning Point 6% In comparison, the national rate of unbanked households is just 5.4%. Next slide please. There is a long costly history that binds criminal and economic and justices. The costs and impacts are highly concentrated and communities already stricken with persistent poverty. And 2019 people in the deep south are burdened by more than $4 billion in debt related to the interaction with the federal criminal system more than double than what it was 10 years ago. formerly incarcerated individuals pay their debts to society twice, once by serving their sentences, and again by carrying the burden of heavy debts upon release. These debts are often used to re incarcerate people prevent people from voting, every boat state driver’s licenses, and those of us in the south know that licenses are not just significant for opening accounts, but also forgetting back and forth to work. But I will let Alabama Appleseed take a deeper dive into this later in the presentation. Next slide please. There are severe concrete examples of the consequences of that. The stories of those impacted by these consequences are highlighted throughout the report. And we will hear more from and we will hear more later about shared experiences from decarceration. The depth issue exacerbates the challenges people are facing reentering society. Whether those depths are accumulated before are during incarceration. They follow individuals long after they’re released, and in many instances bringing them right back into the criminal system. One example of depth accumulation while incarcerated can be seen by taking a closer look at multiple Alabama counties. incarcerated folks are personally built for the healthcare needs, and their bills can end up with collection agencies. What I have no source of income, we can have it on their credit, and family members often take up the burden of paying the debt to ensure the health care needs of the length of their loved ones continue. For Mississippians. The inability to pay the debts associated with criminal justice monetary sanctions often leads to re-incarceration. In fact, there are four restitution centers across the state. Seven is debtors prisons were formerly incarcerated individuals work to earn money to pay off court-ordered Dibs. Though half of the people house at the Centers are less than 30 $500 in debt. They stay for months on average, and sometimes years working to satisfy this. Next slide, please. This slide articulates the massive amount of debt hanging over the deep south. Take a moment to imagine what else might be possible. If people were paying this money towards a down payment for a home for their family, or small business startups, or even transportation to get to and from work. Rather than giving this money to these extractive debt mechanisms. People impacted by the criminal system are losing out on so much more. Because of the barriers to access wealth-building opportunities, there is just one small piece of the puzzle. Yet we can’t solve the puzzle without tackling the issue of debt. First. Let slide please. Now that we’ve talked about the many barriers people face, let’s talk about solutions. Policymakers must consider economic equality in their decision-making to ensure the criminal justice system is less punitive, and more equitable. policies that champion debt reduction are particularly important for formerly incarcerated persons who are more likely to encounter predatory lending practices and lack access to credit. Policymakers should even ease Debt Collection Practices and prevent the accumulation of debt during incarceration. local state and federal governments should cap should set caps on criminal justice debt, to waive fees, advice of low-income individuals involved in the justice system. And lastly, policymakers should prohibit the revocation of driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees. Next slide, please. So I want to, again, say thank you to everyone who’s listening in on today, and to those and to my colleagues and hope and those with lived experiences to help influence this work. I will now pass it back to Sarah to take us into the next part of this presentation.

Totoncho 08:41

Thank you so much Calandra for that incredibly helpful and informative study and observations. We appreciate you and the work that you do very, very much. And as you teed up, we’re about to hear from Brian straightly the Director of External Affairs for the sycamore Institute to take a deep dive on a particular state of Tennessee. Brian is has been with the sycamore Institute since 2017. And shapes messaging and public relations efforts for the Institute, working with journalists and the public to make sure that they get these issues. Right. Brian, we’re thrilled to have you here us today, I’m going to hand it off to you to tell us more about the sheer scope of financial obligations that people can face in Tennessee.

Straessle 09:34

Great, you know, thank you for having me. So the sycamore Institute is a nonpartisan Public Policy Research Center for Tennessee. And we take a policy-neutral approach to research and analyze state-level issues that affect and connect Tennesseans health and prosperity. Sycamore doesn’t lobby or advocate. Instead, we help folks understand complicated issues, and recognize that people may have different perspectives on the same set of facts. So in 2020, we started looking at Tennessee’s criminal fees and time, there has been a growing consensus and interest from the left and right in our state to look at this issue. But what’s missing is a clear consensus on where to start. Many have a fairly good grasp of some of the unintended consequences. But if you want to do something about it, what would make the biggest impact? How would changes affect the systems and services funded by this money? So Sycamore set out to paint a comprehensive picture of what these legal financial obligations are, why they exist, and what purpose they serve, who decides them, how they affect people who owe them and the governments that collect them. And finally, the trade-offs and unintended consequences. It quickly became clear to us that this is complicated stuff. The story of fees and fines and their unintended consequences is very much one of death by 1000 cuts. So I’m not sure that we fully appreciated how hard it would be to untangle this not. For example, how much might someone pay for a specific event? Well, it’s complicated. How much money does? How does the money that’s collected getting used, complicated? And should policymakers consider a complete overhaul of the system? Again, it’s kind of complicated. So let’s now take a look at a few visuals to illustrate what I mean. When you go to go to the next slide. Thank you. First, the sheer number of financial obligation, we found over 316 different ones spread across 17 of the 71 titles in Tennessee State code. Here you see examples of what people might face throughout their interaction with the criminal justice system, dozen big and small every step from arrest and pre-trial to trial, conviction and incarceration and even community supervision. Next slide. Second, state law authorizes or requires every one of those obligations, but many local actors determine what costs people ultimately incur. Most of these actors are popularly elected in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties, prosecutors, judges, juries, sheriffs, and other law enforcement, local legislative bodies and court clerk next month. So how does this money flow to the left you see various costs that people can owe. And in the middle, we see who collected state agencies, local officials, and even private entities in some cases. And in some situations, whoever collects it then passes it along to other parts state local government. And then finally, the dollars get distributed to victim to state and local government in general funds to various parts of the criminal justice system, and then other programs as well. Next slide. They get a bit more specific, here are 10 of Tennessee’s required criminal litigation taxes. On the left, you see each tax has a particular amount and the outcome that triggers it. county court clerks in the middle collect these taxes, and they get to keep a portion of the money for the county but the dark red or brown line. Those commission rates vary by tax, and then the clerk’s send the rest of the money that they aren’t keeping to the state, which divides it up in 16 different ways. Next slide. To finally when folks make payments toward their obligation, sometimes the cost balloon based on when and how they pay state law prioritizes how payments apply to various obligations. The first are court fees and taxes and then other fees and costs. Then the fines. And then finally, victim restitution. If the person who uses a payment plan 5% of what they pay can be applied toward a payment plan, see, if they’re paying six months past their due date, as much as half of what they pay goes toward the collector fee, meaning that it could take twice as long for them to pay off their debt. So these are just a few of the complexities we’ve uncovered so far. And soon, we’ll start digging into more specific issues. And I’ll leave you with one takeaway. What I’ve just shown you grew out of decades of piecemeal decision that somebody always thought was a good idea at the time. But the end result is a tangled web of effects, incentives, and unintended consequences that I doubt lawmakers really meant to create. In doing this work, Sycamore aims to help policymakers understand this system and how it came about, which will make it easier for them to take steps toward addressing any problems they might be like.

Totonchi 15:00

Thank you so much, Brian, and thanks to you and the sycamore Institute for all your work illuminating the extraordinary amount of obligations that people face. Every time I see the chart of possible fines and fees, I am absolutely blown away by the scope and the creativity behind the people who put them into place. So thank you for that. And now we will move on to our third and final panelist of the day Akiesha Anderson. Akiesha, will be talking with us about the issue of driver’s licenses and revocation relating to people who have been formerly incarcerated and their criminal justice set. Akiesha is the legislative and policy attorney at the Georgia at the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. And she works as the policy director there focusing on policy development, legislative advocacy, coalition building and engaging with public officials. We are so grateful for her work and excited to hear from her today about these incredibly important issues. Akiesha, it’s all yours.

Anderson 16:13

Morning. Thank you so much for the introduction, Sarah. As you all know, my name is Akiesha Anderson. And as was just stated, I serve as the policy director for Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. So just a bit of background about Alabama Appleseed. We are a small nonprofit and we work to uproot systems that keep people trapped at the intersection of poverty and a criminal justice system. And we do this in several ways. We do this by conducting original research publishing reports and taking our findings to the statehouse to try to advance pause positive policy change and persuade legislators to take on our policy recommendations. this legislative session two areas I have worked on or bills I have worked to try to get passed deal with suspension of driver’s licenses related to things are for things unrelated to road safety, and the creation of a diversion program study commission. Next slide please. In Alabama, we suspend driver’s licenses for a host of things are related to unsafe driving, things like failure to pay a ticket failure to appear in court and petty drug offenses. As is the case in many Southern and rural areas public transportation is virtually nonexistent and Alabama. So if people need to get to work to reentry programs to pick the kid up from school to get to the doctor’s office to address social surfers are to access social services outside the home or even to escape an abusive home. They need a valid driver’s license. And now more than ever, as Alabama experiences a workforce shortage and the economic devastation created by COVID-19 we are finding those imperative that potential workers have driver’s licenses. Unfortunately, there are currently over 100,000, Alabamians with a suspended license for things unrelated to road safety, and black Alabamians are disproportionately impacted by this practice due to disparities and community policing and the existence of the racial wealth gap. In 2018, Alabama, Appleseed created a report entitled stalled in this report explored the practice of driver’s license suspensions in Alabama. That year we interviewed hundreds of Alabamians with licenses that were suspended due to unpaid traffic debt. When speaking to those people. We found that the median amount was $869 that 64% of respondents have been jailed due to unpaid traffic debt. 48% of respondents took out a high interest payday loan to pay off their tickets, and that 30% had actually committed a crime like selling drugs or stealing to pay off their debt. Even more shocking amongst the people that admitted to committing a crime to pay off their debt. For the vast majority of them the most serious offense prior to that crime had been a simple traffic infraction, the way things work now Poor people are punished more harshly simply for being poor. And not because they are more dangerous drivers than people who can afford to pay a traffic ticket right away, suspending licenses and jailing people for unpaid traffic debt and other things unrelated to road safety. isn’t making Alabama any safer. The punishment does not fit in this practice is very counterproductive to all the things that we as a state say we are trying to achieve right now such as prosperity and workforce development. And so that’s why Apple seat this year has worked to get a bill Hb 129 passed. This bill is a bill that was in the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for things like failure to appear failure to pay a traffic ticket and petty drug offenses. Unfortunately, we have run out of time this legislative session to get this bill through. We have been fighting against Alabama law enforcement agency, but we are definitely planning on pursuing this bill again next year. So next slide, please. Another goal of Alabama Appleseed is to increase access to alternatives to incarceration and beyond the beyond the prison walls public safety solutions. So just a bit of background about Alabama again. Currently, Alabama’s prisons are in crisis. Our history of tough on crime policies have led to us having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, the highest prison homicide rate in the nation, and a men’s prison system that’s ridiculous, ridiculously overcrowded. So we are in the process right now being sued by the US Department of Justice. As a lawsuit that began I was found under the Trump administration has argued that our prisons violate the constitutional rights of all the men house in them. While this won’t solve all our problems, Appleseed believes that it’s time for the state and agency leaders to seriously invest in alternatives to incarceration, such as pre trial diversion programs. Last year, Alabama Appleseed released an in depth report entitled in trouble that study diversion programs in the user experience when going through them. We found that although diversion programs currently exist throughout the state, they are they are all user funded. This means that the budget derived to run and operate these programs is derived from the pockets of the people that utilize them. This essentially creates a pay to play system in which Jimmy from a fluent home and a family willing to pay 2000 plus dollars gets access to these programs in lieu of incarceration. Whereas what came from a less than affluent household and who doesn’t have 2000 plus dollars to pay to participate in such a program is shipped off to jail or prison instead. So because of the reliance on user fees, these programs currently contribute to a two tier justice system in which defendants like Jimmy in a fluent Alabamians have the resources to get access to programs whereas the finance like Joaquin and low income Alabamians are sent to jail or prison instead. The fact that the state does not fund or supervise these programs, creates a host of other perverse financial incentives, and least a lack of uniformity and oversight. There are also differences county by county with regard to who has access to these programs and how much they cost. As a solution to this problem. We believe that the state needs to adequately fund existing diversion programs, and the user fees need to be eliminated altogether, that will in essence, mitigate against wealth based disparities. If the state is unable, however, to fully fund these programs, other solutions include establishing universal eligibility and completion requirements to safeguard against the existing practice of completion being determined by whether all fees have been paid or not. The state can also create roles and standards that every diversion program is required to abide by, in order to make them more uniform throughout the state. And so one such bill that I have been watching and that we are supporting that’s designed to create such roles and oversight is making its way through the legislature now and there is hope that this bill does have time to pass out this session. So that bill numbers Hb 71, and it passed it will create an accountability courts commission with the duty to oversee and study all existing diversion programs within the state. Again, this is a bill that Alabama apathy is closely watching and supporting. And should this bill not pass this session, we will be there again next session to the root for and try to advance this bill. So thank you so much for your time.

Totonchi 23:27

Thank you so much Akiesha. We really appreciate this information. And it is also shocking to hear the incredibly dire consequences that people can say when they have unpaid court fines and fees. Before we wrap up. I just have a question for our panelists. If people who are listening are interested in doing something or getting involved, I’m wondering if you could share some advice either in the form of direct ways to get involved or tactics and strategies that you’ve used in your work that have been effective in making some money. Changes in this area who would like to go first?

Davis 24:06

I can start. So I would like to lift up, again, some recommendations from the report and just some practices that we use at home. And that is that we do this work with the community. And we do this work with those who are impacted by the systems that we’re talking about. And that really, they should we believe fully believe that those who are impacted should be leading the advocacy, and even the decision making processes around is. And so if you want to get involved, then please make sure that you’re reaching out to those who are on the ground in your community, and that you’re working with them. And, more importantly, that you’re listening to them as you continue to do your advocacy work. Also remember to urge your decision-makers on the especially on the state and federal level, to ease debt collections and pause E’s debt collections and stop the accumulation of that for those who are incarcerated.

Straessle 25:12

I can go ahead and go. So as I said, in my little presentation, your Sycamore doesn’t love your advocate. But what we do is try to help people understand everything that’s coming into play. And some of the most impactful work that we’ve done, whether it’s on this issue, or some other topic, as you mentioned, there is just showing the sheer volume of a topic and the scope of it that exists. It’s not hidden. It’s not a secret, but people just aren’t aware of it, because these things have built up over time. So what we try to do is just paint that full picture for people so that whatever their perspective is on an issue, they can then have a constructive conversation about it based on the sharing of facts.

Totonchi 26:04

Thank you so much. Akiesha?

Anderson 26:07

Yeah, there are several things people can do. And so I will start by saying at Alabama Appleseed, we believe in the power of storytelling. And so one really instrumental thing that people can do is that they can start sharing stories about how these issues impact them. So often, when it comes to things related to criminal justice or debt, there is a level of shame and people, you know, decide not to talk about these things. But to the extent that we can share that, you know, these are stories that happen all the time to everyday people. It helps to humanize you know, the issue and helps to get legislators, you know, caring about it in a different way. But from a legislative standpoint, you know, the things I do at the statehouse, a way that everyday people can get involved in assist is by going to Alabama appleseed.org. So that’s www. Alabama spelled out Appleseed a pp. l e s e d.org. And signing up for our action network. If you sign up to get notifications from us, as a result of our action network, we will keep you posted on you know, when bills are moving when we meet someone to reach out to legislators, to ask them to support a bill to vote in favor of it. And that’s a really easy, low time commitment. You know, thing that makes a huge difference when it comes to helping these bills at bats. And so it’s really great when we’re able to hear back from legislators that you know, when I’m calling them asking them to support a bill. Oh, yeah, 20 people have already called me I haven’t voted yet. So that is a really easy thing to do. And it’s something that makes a huge difference. I definitely recommend that if you’re interested in getting engaged with our work that you do sign up to be a part of our action network.

Anderson 27:55

Sara, we can’t hear you.

Totonchi 27:59

I apologize. Thank you so much. Akiesha, I appreciate you lifting up your website. And it’s a good reminder for all of us. If you all are interested in learning more about these issues, I encourage you to look up and engage with the organizations to hear, of course Alabama Appleseed is one of them. The Sycamore Institute, and the hope Policy Institute is our sponsor today. My organization is the Southern Center for Human Rights. Do you want to take a closer look at the study that was really what the catalysts for today’s conversation, go to hope policy.org and there’s a link right there on the front page to learn more. And with that, I will thank our wonderful panelists today for sharing their wisdom, expertise and recommendations. And thank you all for tuning in and listening and learning. Have a great day.

Davis 29:33

All right, Hi, everyone. Thank you again for listening to the presentation. And so now we’re going to open up the session for question and answers. So we can check the comment box for any questions that people may have. And then either Mandy or Kishore or myself will take it away. So I did see one question that says, Are wages safe from open to garnishment for collection of the criminal system fees, fines and debt? And I will say that the short answer is no, that wages can be garnished because of criminal justice debt, and also that a nonpayment in criminal justice debt could also result in governmental sanctions as well.

Pellegrin 30:27

Yeah, so Can y’all hear me okay, I’m sorry, I’m getting a little feedback. Um, so I know that in Tennessee, certainly any, any kind of criminal debt can be converted to a civil debt. So just like, you know, you owe a doctor’s bill or you owe your rent. So there are civil, the same civil remedies are available to state and local government as are available to kind of any private company or actor. So that means it does open it up to property liens, wage garnishment, all of those remedies. And another interesting practice in Tennessee, actually, is that there are requirements in the state law, that judges do do kind of an ability to pay review to make sure that folks are not indigent. But what ends up happening in a lot of places, and this varies by county, and it even varies by courtroom within counties, is that many judges will simply waive the criminal penalties, penalties that are associated with the debt. So they will say, Okay, well, the debt still exists, but it is not a criminal debt anymore. And they will simply convert it to a civil debt. So the debt itself does not actually go away. There were just no longer criminal penalties associated with it. Only the civil remedies, so that there’s a lot of ways that that they show up in in civil courts.

Davis 31:59

Thank you, Mandy. I don’t know if there are any other I’m not saying any other questions. So I’m checking the chat box now. All right. And we just keep looking. And if there are questions, we’ll be here to answer. And then as we wait, I guess we’ll as we just ask everyone, we could talk about what are our next steps for each of our organizations? Okay, I’m reading. We’re getting things in the chatbox. I’m like reading and also talking at the same time. But Mandy and Acacia. I think we could talk about what are the next steps? What should people be looking forward to advocacy efforts as we continue to move this work forward?

Anderson 32:56

Yeah, I’m happy to start. As far as next steps for the pieces of legislation I discuss. Can you hear me? Okay. Um, for the pieces of legislation I discuss, we are essentially at the end of our legislative session. And so our last legislative day will be this coming Monday, the legislature is going to break right now. But unfortunately, it depends how Alabama is in a crisis or prison says our state’s being sued because of our prison system. But unfortunately, this year, the legislature really did not pass a meaningful criminal justice reform legislation. And so there are rumors that there might be a special session to deal with prison construction or criminal justice reform. And so the next step for us will be preparing for that special session, if more to happen, and if not, we will be preparing for the next legislative session, which will start in January next year. And so we definitely plan on hitting the ground running and trying to advance the same pieces of legislation that we offer this year. In the next legislative session, whether that’s a special session or a regular session. So those are our next steps. So if anybody is interested in these issues, I saw in the chatbox that there is at least one audience member from Alabama, and I would love to connect with you. But yeah, that is something that we will be doing partnering with more people, and really pushing these issues again, next session.

Pellegrin 34:24

So, we are going to be continuing our research in this area, sort of there’s, we have a bunch of different projects planned the next thing that we’ll likely publish in the next couple of weeks as we started to dig into some of the financial data at the county level, to better understand how different county governments depend on these fees and fines in terms of funding local services, and how they relate to other taxes and things like that. And what we’re finding there is that place really matter. So you know, where you get in trouble makes a big difference on in terms of how much is being levied from county to county, and then how much the counties are actually collecting from folks. And depending on that to run their local governments, then we’ll begin to get into policy options. So this is a massive space, as you saw, you know, over 360 each of those is potentially a separate piece of legislation that could go through our general assembly here. I saw someone asking about bail reform movements, I suspect that that’s a topic that we’re certainly going to get into is, are there alternatives to the bail system and other ways for folks to be released before their trial without placing a financial burden on them? We’re also going to be starting with some basics, what would the data structure data infrastructure look like to get a better handle on this issue, on how counties vary in their practices and why they vary? And then we’ll be getting into some other things about ability to pay waivers and how broadly those are used and consistently, and things like that.

Davis 36:03

Thankfully, I also see another question in the chatbox, it says, Is there an opportunity to connect someone to financial counseling services? When should that happen in the criminal justice process? And so that will that kind of my answer to that also leads to me talking about the work that we’re doing at hope, as we continue to move forward and looking and exploring financial services and criminal justice-related debt, or just a criminal justice system. And so we hope believes that financial education, financial counseling should start, even before people are reentering society even before while they are incarcerated. And so we have some partnerships that are coming up within the state of Mississippi. And hopefully, that will expand to other Deep South throughout the deep south region, where we can continue to show up to these correction facilities, and really build relationships with those who are incarcerated, and to prepare them for what’s to come afterwards what’s to come next. Um, so ensure that they’re not falling into some debt traps or cycles, our predatory lenders, and that they actually have a healthy relationship with the financial institution. And we could for those who are interested, we could talk more about what does that look like for hope, and also what other financial institutions are doing this or doing similar work? I see. Just a couple of more questions. And the next one says, Are there efforts at the federal level through future COVID relief deals, if any, or otherwise in motion to reduce impact on criminal justice, fines and fees? I don’t know. Mandy, do you have any?

Pellegrin 37:50

No. Yeah, I’m not really sure how that would play out since this is sort of a product of state and local criminal justice systems and statutes. But it’s an interesting thought now, I haven’t seen anything.

Davis 38:04

Yeah, and neither have I, but definitely something that I will likely look into. And lastly, we have a question, who says, our chart are those charges that are converted to civil deaths reported to credit bureaus?

Pellegrin 38:22

They can be it just depends on what the local governments want to do. And that’s an example of a thing that we certainly don’t have a good grasp on in Tennessee is whether or not that’s actually happening.

Davis 38:38

All right. So I don’t see any other questions in the chat box. I’ll keep looking as I wrap up. But again, just want to thank our panelists, a Akiesha from Alabama, epilepsy and Mandy from the sycamore Institute. Also our moderator Sara from the Center for Southern human rights, who wasn’t able to join our q&a session today, but has been a really intricate part and making this presentation all come together and flow easily. And also for everyone else in the background who played a major role in making this all happen. And we will share our contact information in the chat bots are out after this panel so that people can stay in touch with the work that we’re doing. And also thanks to NCRC for Maggie and everyone else who has again played a major role in this. So again, thank you, everyone.

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