Press Release

Press Release Massachusetts is one of three states in the country to eliminate Probation fees

Massachusetts is now one of only three states across the country that have eliminated probation fees which criminal justice experts say will help reduce recidivism while also lessening the burden on individuals struggling with financial insecurity.
For immediate release:
9/21/2022
  • Massachusetts Probation Service
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for Massachusetts is one of three states in the country to eliminate Probation fees

Coria Holland, Communications Director

MassachusettsOregon and California eliminated the fees in 2020. There are approximately 45,000 individuals on adult criminal probation in the Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS). In many of these cases, fees were waived by the court upon proof of indigency. In Fiscal Year 2022, some $7.9 million was collected for assessed supervision fees. This translates into approximately 12,000 individual probationers who will no longer be required to pay $65 per month in probation supervision fees.

Governor Charlie Baker signed MPS’ Fiscal Year 2023 budget on July 28 which included a provision to eliminate probation fees and victim services surcharges. This effort reflects one of the goals of the 2018 Criminal Justice Reform Act which includes “developing a more equitable system that reduces recidivism.” Massachusetts Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Locke issued an administrative order remitting all Probation fees for July 2022 and after.

“The elimination of Probation fees removes a significant barrier to effective, evidence-based probation practice for many on our caseload. It further reduces the stress that mounting financial insecurity can bring,” said Massachusetts Probation Commissioner Edward Dolan. “I believe this action by the Governor and the support from the Legislature helps promote fairness, furthers efforts at rehabilitation and will ultimately reduce recidivism.”

“This is really good news. Paying those fees are a burden especially when you’re struggling to just stay afloat. If you don’t pay them you can be violated. It’s good not to have this hanging over your head,” said John D., a probationer who asked that his last name not be used.

Working groups launched by the Massachusetts Trial Court and Boston Bar Association in 2016 and 2017 examined the issue and advocated for the state to end fees. The groups determined that “Probation Officers should be allowed to focus on helping those under their supervision succeed, not on collecting money from them.”

MPS, a department of the Massachusetts Trial Court, staffs 105 separate Probation offices—which represent five different court divisions—across the Commonwealth: District, Boston Municipal, Superior, Juvenile, and Probate & Family courts. The goal of the Massachusetts Probation Service is to help keep communities safe and to provide probationers with the rehabilitative tools they need to live a safe and law-abiding life.

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Media Contact for Massachusetts is one of three states in the country to eliminate Probation fees

Massachusetts Probation Service 

MPS's main goal is to keep communities safe and to provide people on probation with the rehabilitative tools they need to live a productive and law-abiding life.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.
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