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Legal Financial Obligations in Washington State: Final Report

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Paige Wanner, Morgan Spangler, Nathan Adams, Devin Bales - December 2022

The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to study legal financial obligations (LFOs). This is the second report in a two-part series.

For the final report, WSIPP used administrative data from multiple Washington State sources to describe the level of criminal LFO impositions, adjustments, and payments made annually at all court levels.

Additionally, WSIPP completed the following:

  • Reviewed Washington State policies implemented since December 2021;
  • Discussed court budgets and the flow of LFO dollars through the criminal justice system;
  • Described the level of funding attributed to LFO accounts and earmarked for use in programming; and
  • Described legislation and policy changes completed by other states that aim to delink court funding from the collection of LFOs.

We found that available LFO data are limited. As a result, patterns in the data over time cannot be identified. Further, the data do not allow us to trace dollars from the collection to expenditure. More consistent data collection and reporting across courts may assist efforts to identify patterns over time in the future. A preliminary report covering LFO background, state statutes that impose LFOs, and a 50-state review of court funding and LFOs was released in December 2021 and can be found here.

Report ID: 22-12-1902

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