A recent independent study finds that Civil Survival’s 2019 Legal Financial Obligations (LFO) Reconsideration Day in Pierce County freed community members from over $5 million in legal debt that they could not afford to pay.

The report, by University of Washington professor Karin D. Martin and PhD candidate Matt Z. Fowle, found that the event assisted 419 participants, waiving $5.3 million in LFO debt. Among participants, 99.2% would recommend attending an LFO Reconsideration Day to other people and 84% reported a decrease in stress/anxiety after the event. Nearly 90% of participants reported that the LFO Reconsideration Day improved their opinion of the court system. In summing up the day, one volunteer told the researchers:

“I watched so many people leave the court in tears and with a look of profound relief and hope on their faces. I don’t get many days like that as a public defender.  It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.”

Read the full report here.