The Juvenile Law Center has released a report outlining a 50-state (and D.C.) study of the laws that allow for the imposition of juvenile court costs, fines, fees, or restitution on youth or their families. These costs can be imposed for services ordered for youth including probation, an attorney (even if they were appointed a free attorney based on indigence), mental health evaluations, the costs of incarceration, treatment, or restitution payments. The report, Debtors’ Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System, reveals that these practices fall particularly hard on minority youth, they actually increase recidivism and they can trap youth in poverty. The center has also created a national map that outlines both these practices and the consequences of these practices by state. Finally, the report outlines alternatives to these harmful practices.
Cathy Krebs is the committee manager for the ABA Section of Litigation's Children's Rights Litigation Committee in Washington, D.C. She is also the newsletter editor for the committee.
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