DOJ Issues Advisory on Juvenile Court Costs

The Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Office for Civil Rights recently issued an advisory about the levying of fines and fees on juveniles. Of note, the advisory acknowledges that juveniles are generally unable to pay fines and fees themselves and that these court costs burden families that may already have difficulty paying for things like “food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities.” Further, court costs may “foreclose educational opportunities for system-involved youth or other family members.” It also points out that fines and fees actually increase the risk of recidivism rather than help rehabilitate youth.