New Research: Monetary Sanctions Shape Cynicism & Accelerate Adulthood

August 2023

By Leslie Paik, PhD, Andrea Giuffre, PhD,  Alexes Harris, PhD, and Sarah Shannon, PhD

"The long reach of juvenile and criminal legal debt: How monetary sanctions shape legal cynicism and adultification" delves into the lasting consequences of juvenile legal system involvement and monetary sanctions. The study, which is based on 19 interviews with adults carrying legal debt from both juvenile and criminal legal systems, addresses the question of how such involvement shapes individuals' perceptions of the law and legal institutions, and the resulting outcomes. 

Key highlights of the report include: 

  • Youth’s juvenile justice involvement can lead to financial debt into adulthood. 
  • Juvenile monetary sanctions propel youth into early adulthood, with negative effects. 
  • Juvenile monetary sanctions hinder individuals’ educational and work aspirations. 
  • Juvenile monetary sanctions increase individuals’ distrust of the legal system.