A new report from the Juvenile Law Center shows many juvenile offenders who wind up in the court system are being hurt by the fines and fees given to them. The center’s Jessica Feierman says that includes the cost of tests and evaluations, rehabilitation, and court operation. She says court costs can put families in stressful situations where they face difficult choices.
“Should I pay for my one child’s school uniform or my other child’s court fees? Is it worth going into debt so that I can pay off these fees? That’s a strain on a family that’s not going to help either the child or the family. We’re just deepening the cycle of poverty.”
The report recommends states eliminate costs, fines, and fees for the young. It also recommends restitution policies that consider rehabilitation while addressing a victim’s needs.