Courts can charge youth in the justice system and their families thousands of dollars in fees and fines. Whether they can afford to pay can drastically influence their futures: Will they get a second chance, or will they be driven deeper into the justice system and deeper into poverty?
Unjust juvenile fees and fines cause harm. They deepen existing racial and economic disparities, undermine family stability, and set young people up to fail. They must be abolished.
By the Numbers
Taking Action Across the Nation
Our coalition is dedicated to leading this national campaign to abolish harmful fees and fines imposed on youth in the justice system and supporting those on the front lines of the fight.
We work at the local, state, and federal levels to abolish juvenile fees and fines through policy advocacy, litigation, and research, and by connecting a community of like-minded advocates. With wins in more than a dozen states, the campaign strives to eliminate this unfair and unjust practice nationwide.
- Ending—not mending—fees and fines
- Centering racial justice
- Building grassroots power
Debtor’s Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System
Making Families Pay: The Harmful, Unlawful, Costly Practice of Charging Juvenile Administrative Fees in California
Minors Facing Major Debt: The Immense Burden of Court Fees on Macomb County Youth and Families
“Eliminating these fees would allow judges to stop acting as cashiers and instead focus on rehabilitating kids and making communities safer.”
—State Rep. Leslie Herod, sponsor of Colorado’s 2021 bill that abolished juvenile fees and discharged all outstanding fee debt