A look back at Financial Justice in 2019

December 31, 2019

Dear Financial Justice Project partners,

It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. Since our launch three years ago, we have assessed and reformed dozens of fines and fees, and lifted tens of millions of dollars in debt off tens of thousands of low-income people. These accomplishments are not ours alone. We achieved them through working in partnership with you: community groups, legal service providers, and city and county department and court leaders. We are so grateful for your partnership and support. Below is a snapshot of what we have accomplished together in 2019.

2019 Accomplishment Banner


Phone IconWorked with the Sheriff and the Mayor to announce that San Francisco would become the first county in the nation to stop generating revenue from incarcerated people and their families, by making phone calls free and ending the markups on items in the jail store. Read more here.


IDWorked with the Mayor and the San Francisco Superior Court to clear up to 88,000 holds on driver’s licenses for people who missed a traffic court date. Read more here.


Gavel On Top of MoneyLaunched Cities and Counties for Fine and Fee Justice, a new, national leadership network of cities and counties across the country committed to advance meaningful fine and fee reforms. Read more here.


LionLaunched San Francisco Museums for All, so low-income families who receive public benefits could get free access to our city’s cultural institutions. This summer, more than 25,000 people used the program to visit a local museum! Read more here.

Stack of BooksWorked with the San Francisco Public Library to eliminate overdue library fines and waive $1.5 million in debt stemming from these fines. Earlier this year, we published Long Overduea report on the impact of overdue library fines on low-income patrons and patrons of color. Read more here.

BackpackReleased The Payback Problem with a coalition of organizations from across the state. The report  describes the harms of requiring  low-income families to pay back the cost of public assistance through their child support payments. Read more here.

FamilyPartnered with the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services on a pilot that cleared the government-owed child support debt for 30 parents, so all of their payment could go to their children. The evaluation found the debt relief led to increased child support payments that went to children in poverty. Read more here.

ScalesSponsored SB 144, the Families Over Fees Act, authored by California State Senator Holly Mitchell, to eliminate high pain/low gain administrative fees in the criminal justice system, and worked with our partners across the state who are part of Debt Free Justice California.

Festive Pattern

And more! To see a list of fine and fee discounts for low-income people in San Francisco, check out our check out our newly-released guide, San Francisco Fine and Fee Discounts for Low-Income People.

What a year it’s been. We’re so proud of the work we’ve done together and cannot wait for the year ahead.

Yours in Financial Justice,
Anne & Christa