City Collaborative Proposes Incremental Reforms to Chicago’s Vehicle Ticketing System

Debt Forgiveness Program Could Provide Tangible Support to Impacted Chicagoans


PRESS CONTACTS: Jenna Severson (o) 312-368-0310 (

CHICAGO, IL – The Chicago City Clerk today released recommendations from collaborative group called the Fines, Fees, and Access Collaborative that seeks to reform the City of Chicago’s vehicle ticketing system. The recommendations are a result of six months of research and collaboration between Clerk Anna Valencia and various stakeholders, including City departments, elected officials, and consumer advocates such as Woodstock Institute, the Chicago Jobs Council, Community Organizing & Family Issues (COFI), Heartland Alliance, the Chicago Urban League, and the ACLU of Illinois.

Woodstock Institute released the following statement about the recommendations:

“The recommendations, if adopted, would incrementally improve the system. The debt forgiveness program, in particular, if properly constructed, could provide tangible financial relief to many folks. Some of the most urgent issues, such as ending driver’s license suspensions, however, still need to be addressed,” said Brent Adams, Woodstock Institute’s Senior Vice President of Policy & Communication. “The proper and proposed solution exists in the License To Work Act, legislation pending in Springfield that awaits a House vote.”

The recommendations come after Woodstock Institute released a report entitled, The Debt Spiral: How Chicago’s Vehicle Ticketing Practices Unfairly Burden Low-Income and Minority Communities, which reveals racial and economic disparities in the City’s vehicle ticketing practices, and found people are 40 percent likelier to receive a ticket if they live in a lower-income community or community of color.

Among the report’s recommendations is to conduct a racial equity impact assessment on current and proposed policies to determine the degree to which they promote or detract from racial equity in Chicago. Woodstock’s Communications and Development Associate Jenna Severson, said “We felt it important the recommendations fit a racial equity frame and specifically identify race, as we hope to meaningfully confront policies and practices that have – intentionally or otherwise—perpetuated racism in our city.”