The Bills Collected by the Los Angeles County Department of Probation Put Youth at Risk and Impoverish Families

February 2009
By Youth Justice Coalition 

In 2009, the Los Angeles County Department of Probation charged families—more than 95 percent of whom were poor and working class—$23.63 dollars for each day, or nearly $775 for each month, that their child was in juvenile hall and $11.94 for each day they were in camp. The majority of the fees were charged to families whose child was in juvenile hall. In some cases, families received bills prior to the case’s disposition, meaning that youth who were potentially innocent of all charges were still billed. Based on interviews with 66 families who received bills and seven youth, this report details the ways in which juvenile fees only put youth at risk and further impoverish already struggling families. (NB: In response to dozens of families, parents, and the Youth Justice Coalition, on Feb. 13, 2009, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors imposed a temporary moratorium on the charging of all juvenile hall and camp fees and permanently discontinued all collection in 2018.)