05 September 2016

Pitifully Small Criminal Justice Debts Are Devastating If You Can't Afford To Pay Them

One 13-year-old in Arkansas who could not pay several hundred dollars in fines for truancy, the report found, spent three months in detention instead. 
In another practice that deepens inequities, about 20 states charge fees to have juvenile records expunged or sealed; in South Carolina, for example, juvenile offenders must pay more than $300.
Just as in the area of bond payments, which keep people incarcerated for months or years pending trial if the defendant can't afford to pay the bond, juvenile court cost debts as small as $200 can mean a year or more of additional probation, or worse, if the defendant can't afford to pay them. It is hard for someone used to small fines not being a big deal to realize what a big deal they are if someone can't afford to pay them.
The New York Times story linked above links to a recent report out of the Juvenile Law Center that corroborates the findings.

No comments: