Creating a brighter future for us all includes ensuring our youth court system is just and fair to everyone involved. And ensuring that it’s aimed toward healing, youth development, and reducing recidivism.
But did you know that when juveniles enter Illinois’ youth justice system, they can be charged for things like legal representation, room and board, or even their own probation supervision? These fees and fines range from $25 to over $800 and can quickly add up to thousands of dollars for a single family.
Enforcement of these fines and fees varies across Illinois counties, creating a patchwork of injustice that falls particularly hard on low-income youth and families. And because of targeted policing and over-surveillance of communities of color, these fees and fines disproportionately hurt youth of color and their families in these areas.
The injustice is compounded because the costs of collecting fees and fines often outweighs the revenue they generate. For example, jurisdictions in Louisiana were spending up to $1.15 for each dollar they collected, while Oregon spent $866,000 to collect $864,000 in support fees for youth in custody in 2019. This bloated practice likely holds true here in Illinois.
We can and must do better for Illinois youth and their families. We should join the movement of states across the country – both majority Democratic and Republican – that have begun to reduce or abolish juvenile court fees and fines.
You can show your support for this movement – today – by signing the petition to put an end to juvenile court fees and fines here in Illinois.
We’ll be in touch with more ways to stay active on this issue soon. Thanks for your engagement and commitment to a brighter future for us all.
P.S.: Did a juvenile court order you to pay fees or fines (regardless of whether you were convicted) when it was processing your case? Did this happen to your friend or family member? Victims absolutely should receive restitution, but our taxpayer-funded court system should not make youth pay for their public defenders or court processing fees. Contact us to share your story. Your voice could help fix this unjust practice.