Going to juvie can cost you more than just your freedom. Many states charge parents of children involved in the justice system fines and fees associated with their detention. For instance, the Los Angeles Times reports that before 2009, families in Los Angeles County were charged $23.63 a day for a dependent in a juvenile detention center and $11.94 a day for a dependent in a probation camp.
States have slowly begun to move away from this practice. Los Angeles banned these charges in 2009, but has continued to collect debts incurred before the ban went into effect. That is, until now.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved a motion that will end this practice in Los Angeles County, effectively erasing nearly $90 million worth of debt held by juvenile offenders, their parents and their guardians across 52,000 accounts.
The motion, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, is aimed at helping Californians who have been involved in the juvenile justice system get back on their feet.
"Collecting fees for juvenile detention undermines youth rehabilitation and public safety," said Solis in a statement. "It also unnecessarily increases the financial insecurity of vulnerable families. As part of a larger, transformative reexamination of how we serve our justice-involved residents, including our re-entry population, LA County is reexamining our approach to juvenile justice. Today's action helps families and our youth in detention while setting up future generations for success rather than incarceration."