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Jacksonville Residents are Crippled by Court Fines and Fees, and No One Cares

Read this op-ed from our member and Dignity Florida Steering Committee leader Sherry Oliver, about how Jacksonville residents are being affected by recent legislation, including court fines and fees and voting rights.

19 years ago, I never would have imagined that life after prison could be as hard as being incarcerated. I have been in and out of the criminal justice system since I was 14 years old, and most recently served a sentence of 13 months.

When I was released in 2015, I was excited to get back to my family and start to rebuild my life. But I slowly realized that my incarceration still had a hold on me.

Through my work with the Dignity Coalition in Jacksonville, we found that recent legislation requires courts to refer the existing debt to collection agencies, which can add up to a 40 percent surcharge. I was devastated and concerned that I would never be free of “the system.” How could I possibly hit a target that is constantly moving?

Read the full op-ed here.

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In just the last few years, our supporters have helped us stand up to the political establishment and reclaim our democracy: expanding voter registration in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, raising wages for workers in Miami, registering tens of thousands of new voters in black and brown communities, and shifting the balance of power in the Sunshine State for good.

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