Double Punishment: Philadelphia’s Practice of Charging Parents for Their Child’s Incarceration Costs

November 2016
By Sela Cowger, Wesley S. Stevenson, and Kelsey R. Grimes, Justice Lab at the Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University Beasley School of Law

This report describes the Philadelphia Department of Human Services’ practice of charging parents for time a young person was incarcerated. It outlines the research that informs the conclusion that Philadelphia must end its practice of collecting juvenile incarceration costs from parents through support orders, the initial advocacy to call attention to this recommendation, and the City of Philadelphia’s early steps to right this wrong. The report’s analysis and findings are based on legal research, meetings with a range of institutional and individual stakeholders, information provided by the city, and conversations with Philadelphia parents. (N.B:. Shortly after the publication of this report, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services stopped charging for youth incarceration costs.)