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Tennessee lacks full data on criminal justice fines and fees

They know what they don’t know. 

But without a lot of input from a decentralized, underfunded system, the researchers looking at Tennessee’s criminal justice fines and fees won’t be able to get a full picture of what’s going on statewide. 

A new report from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research organization based in Nashville, shows how difficult it is to find data on who is being fined for what, and for how much. 

“These things just built up over time to a pretty complicated web that is admittedly difficult to really wrap your head around,” policy director Mandy Pellegrin told The Tennessean. “And so that’s why we we thought it would be a good place for us to kind of lift the veil.