Youth Deserve #DebtFreeJustice Now

Around one million youth appear in juvenile court each year. Hundreds of thousands of those young people will face fees, fines, or restitution. If they can’t pay for their freedom, youth can be incarcerated, have extended probation, or be denied treatment.

Juvenile court costs unfairly punish kids for being poor and pull youth and deeper into the justice system. Many families either go into debt trying to pay or are forced to choose between buying necessities - like groceries - and paying court fees.

Although there are many movements to end regressive and discriminatory fees in the adult criminal justice system, few are challenging the issue in the juvenile system.

We believe youth and their families deserve #debtfreejustice.  

This website gathers resources about the impact of juvenile fees on youth, families, and communities, and offers strategies that support local, state, and federal efforts to end the imposition of these costs in our justice system. Together, we hope to build toward a world with #debtfreejustice for all.

Resources for #DebtFreeJustice reform:

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For Advocates

Resources on how to identify the issue, gather information, and make the argument for reform in your jurisdiction.

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For Litigators

Relevant statutes and case law to inform a litigation strategy as well as samples and materials for challenges on a case-by-case basis.



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For Researchers

Current research on fines and fees in the criminal justice system, including information on both adults and youth.

Latest News/Tweets

Featured Research

DOJ Advisory on Juvenile Fines and Fees (2017)

Juvenile Law Center, Debtor's Prison for Kids? (2016)

Policy Advocacy Clinic, Making Families Pay (2016)

Interactive Map of Juvenile Fees

Use the interactive maps below to explore how states across the US use fees and the consequences people impacted by those fees reported to Juvenile Law Center.