A Statewide Analysis of the Impact of Restitution and Fees on Juvenile Recidivism in Florida Across Race & Ethnicity

February 2023
By Alex R. Piquero, PhD, Michael T. Baglivio, PhD, and Kevin T. Wolff, PhD

Study finds that the imposition of fees increased the likelihood of recidivism (subsequent adjudication, adjudication withheld, or adult conviction) among White and Black youth, while restitution requirements increase the odds of recidivism among Black youth particularly. Youth residing in areas with greater concentrated disadvantage had higher amounts of fees assigned. When fines were administered both black and Hispanic youth were administered significantly higher fees.

Regarding the impact to the youth and families of a hypothetical $100 or more sanction: 

  • 31.1% believed it would not be hard to pay, 
  • 42.2% believed it would be manageable if allowed to pay 31  small amounts monthly, and 
  • 24.4% endorsed it being hard to pay for them/their families. 

As to whether the youth personally could pay $100 or more of monetary sanctions:

  • 13.3% endorsed that they would have to resort to criminal activity to get the money, 
  • 15.6% would have to put off paying other bills, 
  • 44.4% would simply pay it with little effect on them, and 
  • 37.8% would have to get the money from family or friends due to not having any way to earn income. 

Finally, the impact of same hypothetical $100 or more sanction if the youth’s family would have to pay:

  • 33.3% endorsed their families would not be able to pay other bills, 
  • 33.3% stated it would negatively impact their relationship with the youth, 
  • 24.4% believed it wouldn’t impact their families at all, and 28.9% endorsed their family having to borrow the money to pay.