Illinois Community Toolkit
Juvenile Court Fees & Fines in Illinois
Juvenile courts in Illinois collect thousands of dollars from youth and their families through fees and fines across the various counties.
At every point in the juvenile court system, a young person and their parents can be charged fees or costs for services and treatment, such as electronic ankle monitor, detention, probation supervision, and even a public defender. By charging fees and fines, the juvenile justice system undermines community health, economic stability, and trust in public systems.
Because of targeted policing and over-surveillance of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, youth of color are overrepresented and over-punished in the juvenile justice system. As a result, fees and fines disproportionately hurt youth of color and their families.
At its core, eliminating fees and fines in juvenile court is both a racial and an economic justice issue.
What Are Fees and Fines?
In Illinois, juvenile courts impose fees and fines on youth—and their families—when they become involved in the juvenile court system.
Fees include administrative costs for probation services, public defender services, detention costs, DNA tests, and other administrative costs related to running juvenile courts.
Fines are financial penalties imposed on youth for certain infractions or crimes, including ordinary teenage behavior like staying out past curfew, underage drinking, or skipping school.
The following materials are provided to give organizational partners and community organizers the background and context for juvenile fees and fines in Illinois. This information is what we currently know about fees and fines in Illinois, however practices differ by county. These materials are still under development as we continue research and interviews across the different counties. You can download the materials by clicking on the links below.
This section provides an overview of what we know so far on fees and fines in the different counties. This information was gathered through academic research and interviews with attorneys, judges, county board officials, and advocacy organizations across the different counties. The community focus groups will be vital in understanding what youth and families are experiencing first-hand.
A core goal in this effort to eliminate juvenile court fees and fines in Illinois is to meet real people with real stories. This is an important part of our advocacy because we want to amplify these narratives and centralize impacted children and families in our work. In addition to the background material, the following material is provided to aid community organizers in facilitating community focus groups with accessible breakdowns of information to engage youth and families in a discussion about their experiences with fees and fines in the juvenile justice system. The fact sheets can be provided to participants as handouts to aid in visualization and understanding of fees and fines. You can modify the material as you see fit since you are the expert and know the community you will be working with. You can download the materials by clicking on the links below.
- Confidentiality and Consent Form
- IL Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet
- IL Fees and Fines Reference Index
- Discussion Questions
- Community Survey (PRINT | ONLINE)
- Focus Group Flyer
- Bipartisan Sign-on Letter
As you facilitate focus groups on a rolling bases, please scan and upload, consent forms, notes, completed survey responses, and any questions that came out of the focus group discussions through this portal.
2022 Legislative session: January 4th, 2022, to April 8th, 2022; Committee Hearings are usually in February or March.
Another core goal in this effort is empowering and creating space for impacted community members to be at the forefront of this campaign is extremely important to us. However, we know that this can be difficult, vulnerable, and re-traumatizing. There are several ways to get involved, and we at least want youth and families to know what options are available for getting involved in the effort to eliminate fees and fines in Illinois. The Policy Advocacy Clinic of Berkeley Law will provide support to help youth, parents, and other community members with talking points and resources to meaningfully engage with the legislature.