All of Us or None to hold rally demanding that LA County Probation reform its fines and fees practices
The grassroots organization, which alleges that the Probation Department is unlawfully taking money from the pockets of probationers in order to enrich itself, is threatening legal action if the department does not change its ways.
LOS ANGELES (September 17, 2019) — All of Us or None, a national grassroots organization of formerly incarcerated people who advocate for policies benefiting justice-impacted communities, will hold a rally and press conference at the Los Angeles County Probation Department on September 20 to urge Probation to abide by the law when it comes to its fines and fees practice. The rally is meant to serve as notice to Probation that if it does not change its practices, legal action will be taken.
All of Us or None’s legal team alleges that Probation has not followed the laws regarding the collection and disbursement of fines and fees. In addition to its own fees, Probation collects other fines from probationers, such as victim restitution and state surcharges. Instead of using the money to pay off those obligations first (as required under Penal Code §1203.1d), Probation illegally pays itself.
Furthermore, under our existing laws, any probationer who makes all her monthly payments as required by her probation officer should have no probation fees left at the end. However, in LA County, most people leave probation with thousands of dollars in unpaid probation fees.
This happens for a combination of reasons: The law gives people on probation the right to a court hearing to determine their ability to pay their fees, but probation officers frequently coerce people into waiving this right. LA County also charges probation fees far in excess of what the law allows under Penal Code §1203.1b.
When these scenarios combine, hundreds of thousands of probationers wind up with a bill that far exceeds the amount they can afford. These fraudulent practices enrich Probation’s coffers at the expense of the community.
“Our communities have suffered long enough under the burden of mass incarceration and the financial strain that comes with it. We do not need more fines and fees. We don’t need Probation taking more than they’re entitled to. What our communities need is relief,” says All of Us or None Los Angeles/Long Beach organizer Manuel Galindo. “Probation has added to the already-difficult task of taking care of your family post incarceration by unlawfully paying itself on the backs of the poorest families in LA County. It’s way past time for this practice to end.”
All of Us or None is asking that the LA County Probation Department remedy these problems immediately, or legal action will be sought. Potential remedies include:
- Correcting Probation’s method of calculating probation fees and ensuring that Probation allocates monthly probation payments as required under Penal Code §1203.1b;
- Including on the form an explicit instruction that refusing to waive the right to a hearing will not lead to any adverse consequences; and
- Recalculating all probation fees assessed in the past 10 years using the correct standards and, if applicable, refunding or redistributing any overpayments.
All of Us or None’s rally will be held at 10 am September 20 at LA County Probation Department, 9150 E. Imperial Highway, Downey. All of Us or None will be joined at the rally by Anti Recidivism Coalition, Youth Justice Coalition and Community Coalition.
About All of Us or None
All of Us or None is a grassroots civil and human rights organization fighting for the rights of formerly and currently incarcerated people and our families. We are fighting against the discrimination that people face every day because of arrest or conviction history. The goal of All of Us or None is to strengthen the voices of people most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the prison-industrial complex. Through our grassroots organizing, we are building a powerful political movement to win full restoration of our human and civil rights. A New Way of Life Reentry Project is the fiscal sponsor of the Los Angeles/Long Beach chapter of All of Us or None.