Youth Justice

Youth Justice

Eliminate Juvenile Court Fees & Fines

Creating a brighter future for us all includes ensuring our juvenile court system is just and fair to everyone involved, and aimed towards healing, youth development, and reducing recidivism.

In Illinois, courts have the right to charge court-involved juveniles and their families a wide range of fees for electronic ankle monitoring, detention, probation supervision, legal representation, and more. Courts can also impose fines for teenage infractions such as staying out past curfew or skipping school. The fees and fines can range from $25 to $800 and quickly add up to thousands of dollars for a single family.

Research has shown that juvenile court fees and fines are not an effective accountability tool and can actually increase recidivism rates. Since these fees and fines do not deter crime and can result in greater risks to public safety, we are part of the fight to abolish them here in Illinois – putting a greater focus on other appropriate opportunities for young people to take accountability for their actions.

Fees and fines are not the same as restitution and do not help victims of crime. Removing them does not impact a judge’s ability to order victim’s restitution, community service, or other non-monetary conditions for holding young people accountable.

Enforcement of these fees and fines varies across Illinois counties, creating a patchwork of injustice falling particularly hard on low-income youth in some suburban and downstate regions. Moreover, 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.

We are proud to partner with the Debt-Free Justice Illinois Coalition. This is part of a national effort by conservative, moderate, and progressive organizations to abolish these fees and fines in Illinois. Illinois could join a list of 20 states that have eliminated juvenile court fees and fines.

SB1463 (Peters)/HB3120 (Slaughter) would eliminate juvenile court fines and fees for Illinois youth. These bills in no way dilute the awarding of restitution for victims; those protections remain intact. Stand for Children Illinois is proud to work with the legislators and advocates who are committed to removing this fiscally irresponsible injustice and creating a brighter future for our youth and us all.

Do your part today and contact legislators in Springfield and urge them to support this legislation and move Illinois toward economic justice for all youth and families.

Download the Coalition fact sheet here.
Download the Coalition FAQ here.

End School-Based Ticketing

Last summer, ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune analyzed data that found nearly 12,000 tickets were issued to students from August 2018 through June 2021. Despite recent laws designed to prohibit schools from issuing fines and fees as discipline and referring truant students to police, school personnel referred thousands of students to local municipalities for the purpose of issuing fines and fees as a disciplinary consequence for school-based behaviors.

This is flat out wrong. Students should NOT be punished this way. It also creates statewide injustice as fines and fees can vary widely across municipalities. The system is unfair to students, who must miss school to attend a municipal hearing that does not guarantee right to due process, like access to legal counsel.

Consequences for most student misbehavior can and should be handled through a district’s discipline policy. We can also work together to strengthen the intent of those earlier laws to prohibit fines and fees as a disciplinary consequence for students.

Illinois is better than this. Add your name to the list of Illinoisans who are reaching out to their legislators and urging them to support HB3412 (Ford), a bill designed to end this unjust practice.

Download the Coalition fact sheet here.
Do Police Give Students Tickets in Your School District?