Minors Facing Major Debt: The Immense Burden of Court Fees on Macomb County Youth and Families

June 2021
By Liz George, Adrianna Duchene, and Mary King, Michigan Center for Youth Justice

Juvenile court debt has become a priority for reform across the country, as local jurisdictions and state governments realize that assessments and collections are inconsistently imposed, fiscally ineffective, exacerbate poverty for indigent families, and disproportionately impact families of color. This report discusses the impact of juvenile court fines and fees on Macomb’s youth and families; assesses the extent to which Macomb’s juvenile court used fines and fees levied against youth and families to fund its court operations; and calculates the real costs associated with assessments and collections.